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  • Defunding the Fight Against Sexual Predators

    Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech to the National Association of Attorney’s General this week. In that speech, he renewed the Justice Department’s support for the Adam Walsh Act. The Adam Walsh Act—passed by a wide margin in Congress—requires some convicted sex offenders to register with local authorities.

    So far, so good, right? One problem: to date, Eric Holder’s Department of Justice 2010 budget gives $0 to implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, and $0 to the SMART Office which implements the Act.

    There is more to this than meets the eye. It is no secret that there has been a small but vocal liberal chorus of opponents to the Adam Walsh Act. They do not think dangerous sex offenders should have to register with local authorities. Of course, they know that their opinion is an extreme minority opinion. They also know that no politician will publicly endorse convicted sex offenders.

    So, since the Adam Walsh Act passed in 2006, they have adopted a two-prong assault on the Adam Walsh Act.

    First, they fought various provisions of the Act in court, attacking the retroactivity and juvenile provisions of the Act. There is nothing wrong with that, as many federal acts are challenged in court. Only so much can be done in the light of day, however.

    Second, they are working secretly behind closed doors with key Congressman to gut the primary purpose of the Act entirely—minimum national standards for sex offender registration. They want to replace the conviction-based registration requirement system with a roll of the dice, so-called “risk assessments.”

    A risk assessment “works” like this: a convicted sex offender sits down with someone who works on behalf of the government. That someone—trained or untrained— asks the convict a few questions about past history and future desires. After the oftentimes brief question and answer period, that someone may or may not verify the information provided by the convicted sex offender. That someone then decides whether or not the convicted sex offender poses a risk to society. If he does, then he might be required to register; if not, then maybe he doesn’t have to register. In other words, the evaluator is supposed to predict future behavior based on information provided by the convict himself. There is no consensus in professional literature on the accuracy of risk assessments at all. Yet this is exactly what opponents of mandatory conviction-based registration are urging Congressional leaders to adopt.

    We wouldn’t even know about this behind-the-scenes shenanigans were it not for the former head of the SMART Office giving a speech last week to the Surviving Parents’ Coalition. In that speech (full text below) Director Rogers warns the Coalition of the attacks on the Adam Walsh Act, and the agenda of the far left.

    Since the speech, members of the Surviving Parents Coalition—which includes household names like Ed Smart, Erin Runnion, Mark Lunsford and others- – -have given those “key” members of Congress an ear full why requiring convicted sex offenders to register makes sense.

    Full text of remarks delivered by Laura Rogers, former Director of the SMART Office, to the Surviving Parents Coalition in February 17, 2009.

    Good afternoon. I am honored to join you. It goes without saying that members of the Surviving Parents Coalition did not wish to be eligible to join this group. It is a sad statement indeed that in our society there is a need for an advocacy group such as yours. But make no mistake about it; we need you now more than ever. Why? Because we are at a fork in the road in terms of holding convicted sex offenders accountable. We can either move forward together or sit back, do nothing, and lose everything we have fought for.

    My friends, we have progressed a great deal over the last two decades with respect to the registering and tracking of sex offenders. As many of you know, prior to the 1990’s there was no consistent sex offender registration and tracking system in the United States. It was a sex offender free for all. With the passage of the Wetterling Act and the successive amendments, much progress was made, including holding recidivist sex offenders accountable, requiring sex offenders to register where they resided, allowing for notification to school officials when sex offenders were present on campus, and the establishment of the National Sex Offender Public Website.

    The ADAM WALSH ACT took the Wetterling Act to the next level. ADAM WALSH incorporated all of the subsequent amendments and enhanced sex offender registration and notification to include additional lessons learned, and established for the first time a new national minimum standard for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. ADAM WALSH creates a floor that jurisdictions must meet for sex offender registration and notification. This minimum standard was created to address the gaps and loopholes left by the Wetterling Act. Under Wetterling, there were areas in this country that were safe havens for sex offenders—places where there were no sex offender registration requirements and others where the existing laws were so lenient that sex offenders flocked to reside there. The standardized requirement to notify the residency address of a move did not exist, which resulted in misinformation on the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW).

    But my friends, the progress we have made together is in jeopardy. We are now at a fork in the road. There are those in Congress and around this country who strive to undo the work that you and I have labored long and hard to achieve. As most jurisdictions in this country are working diligently toward implementation of SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION AND NOTIFICATION ACT (SORNA), there is an organized, well-funded movement to prolong the time period for substantial implementation of SORNA—to prolong the time period to put in place the minimum standards, to prolong the time period when you and I do not have the ability to identify sexual offenders who live, work and go to school within our midst.

    Let me be blunt: We are engaged in a battle with those who believe that sex offenders should not be held accountable for their vicious acts, acts similar to those that brought each and every one of you here today. And make no mistake about it; we are in danger of loosing the battle.

    Here is their game plan: attack the retroactivity provisions, withdraw the juvenile provisions of ADAM WALSH , then gut the Act and strip away mandatory registration for dangerous convicted sex offenders and then add a roll of the dice by adding risk assessments to the equation. I am here today to call for you to boost your already endless commitment to fight against those who seek to excuse the acts of sexual offenders and sexual murders.

    The ADAM WALSH ACT establishes sound public policy. SORNA holds sexual offenders accountable based on the offenses they commit. Registration requirements are based on the solid evidence of the act that was committed and the crime for which the offender was convicted.

    Let me address the topic of risk assessments. When Congress wrote the ADAM WALSH ACT, they specifically rejected the use of risk assessment tools as a method of determining the future dangerousness of a proven sexual offender. Yet opponents of the ADAM WALSH ACT want to replace registration with these unreliable risk assessments. Risk assessments, when used appropriately by a trained and qualified professional may provide some insight into the potential for recidivism of an adult—but no one—regardless of what crystal ball they look into—can determine if someone will again offend. Proponents of risk assessment tools as a measure to determine registration requirements for both adults and juveniles site the research. However, they completely ignore the experts who acknowledge that risk assessments are not a useful tool on juveniles.

    According to Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, there are not enough qualified professionals in the United States to administer risk assessments to sex offenders. In fact there are complete states and jurisdictions that do not have a single qualified professional capable of administering a sex offender a risk assessment.

    What do we see happening right now around the country? Washington State currently uses a risk assessment based system to classify sex offenders. While at the SMART Office, I spoke with a Washington state official who informed me that police officers administer risk assessment on sex offenders—the assessment consists of a check the box type format with little to no interview, no verification of information or expert training for the police officer administering the risk assessment. At best, when a risk assessment is administered by a trained expert such as a qualified psychologist it is at best a guess.

    The opponents of sex offender registration, those who care more about empowering sex offenders than preventing the creation of more victims will argue that the recidivism rates of for example, incest sexual offenders is lower than other types of criminals—again, they rely on the research—research that I have no faith in—How do you measure the recidivism rate of sex offenders when we historically know that child molest victims have an incredibly low rate of disclosure, an extremely high rate of recantation and consequently low trial success?

    You should know that opponents of registration have already met with elected officials here in Washington to get them to walk away from the ADAM WALSH ACT. Of course, no politician will publicly state that they are for child abuse and against holding perpetrators accountable. So they will add risk assessments, under the guise of making the ADAM WALSH ACT fairer, while at the same time gutting the mandatory registration requirements and juvenile registration. Unless you, and groups like you, pressure Congress to stick with ADAM WALSH, all of our work will have been for nothing.

    The ADAM WALSH ACT is not perfectly constructed, but it sets a solid minimum standard for consistent sex offender registration across the country that is good policy. It goes without saying that those who crafted the ADAM WALSH ACT and SORNA did so with good intentions, but they did not consult professional child abuse prosecutors or those with frontline experience and knowledge. This is the reoccurring problem with politicians drafting sex offender legislation—a lack of practical experience and a shallow understanding of reality.

    I was a frontline child abuse and child homicide prosecutor in San Diego for nearly a decade. While director of the SMART Office, I was responsible for the publication of the Final Guidelines. After a great deal of struggle within the Department we rectified the most challenging and problematic SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION AND NOTIFICATION ACT (SORNA) issues by structuring the Final Guidelines. Trust me; those changes were necessary.

    For example, prior to the Final Guidelines, there was a significant amount of controversy regarding the registering of juveniles under SORNA. Under the Wetterling standards, juveniles were not required to register—at all. There were jurisdictions that individually and randomly required juvenile sex offender registration. With a comprehensive implementation of SORNA, all jurisdictions will now have the same minimum protection against forcible sex offenders that coincidentally happen to be juveniles. Congress created the juvenile registration system to include all juveniles 14 years or older, adjudicated delinquent who committed an act of a forcible sex crime, a sexual act against a person who is intoxication or purposefully drugged or sexual against a child under 12 years old.

    However, under the Act, a 13 year old who has consensual sex with someone no more than four years older than them does not have to register. On the other hand, a 14 year old who doesn’t have sex, but merely fondles a person under the age of 12, must register for life. That makes no sense, yet that is the law that Congress passed. Prosecutors, juvenile advocates and many others thought that this application was wrong and counter productive. I changed that provision in the Final Guidelines, despite push back in the Department of Justice. I was able to rectify the issue, without asking Congress to amend the ADAM WALSH ACT by giving jurisdictions the discretion not to register juveniles who engage in non-forcible conduct with children simply based on the age of the partner.

    This change was made based on a well thought out desire to make a reasonable and logical change to allow for a rational implementation of the SORNA.

    Those who we are battling at the fork in the road want to move back to the Wetterling days where juvenile sex offender registration is completely discretionary. They don’t want any minimum national standard for those forcible sexual offenders who happen to be juveniles. But let me tell you about a true case – …

    I ask you as parents, mom and dads, sisters and brothers, do you care if the rapist that lives next door to you is14, 17 or 19 years old?
    Are you comforted by the fact that SORNA provides you the opportunity to know that such a heinous criminal lives next door, or works at the local ice cream parlor or goes to school with your daughter?

    This is a renewed call to action. Since the passage of SORNA, some jurisdictions have been fighting implementation citing financial strain. They say that the ADAM WALSH ACT is an unfunded mandate. Let me be clear here: I am against unfunded mandates, but ADAM WALSH is not an unfunded mandate. Now in these current tough economic times, jurisdictions are screaming even louder. Those in Congress who have always opposed the tough on sex offender SORNA registration requirements, but signed on solely for good photo opt but never with the intention to give this law the teeth it needs, will use this economic crisis to cloak their soft on sex offenders stance and gut the current construction of SORNA.

    But with the new economic stimulus package, there is now more than enough money to implement the requirements of SORNA. The stimulus package that the President will sign today provides significant increases in JAG Byrne Grant and COPS money—all monies that can be used to implement SORNA. Lack of federal financial support is no longer an excuse.

    So what is the underlying reason for the resistance from the jurisdictions to implement SORNA? Often times it is simply a matter of being stubborn and not wanting the federal government to tell the jurisdiction what to do. I have been an eye witness to state officials who misinterpret the minimum requirements of SORNA for the sole purpose of exaggerating the cost of implementation to sway public opinion and government action against a path toward implementation of SORNA. California is a perfect example. One person in that state stands in the way of implementation. That needs to change.

    Additionally, SORNA does not require duplication of ongoing State registration efforts—in fact ADAM WALSH specifically addresses there should be no duplication of efforts. Jurisdictions must look to see where information already exists—regardless if that is within their jurisdiction or another. DNA collected once by another jurisdiction does not then need to be recollected by a second jurisdiction–rather a simple linking to the records located elsewhere is sufficient.

    While leading the SMART Office, I encouraged jurisdictions to be creative and use their scarce resources to redirect monies to more effectively monitor and track sex offenders. In speaking with jurisdictions I constantly encouraged novel approaches to implementation of SORNA—sharing of equipment to achieve the minimum standards of SORNA—for example, rather than purchasing digital finger and palm print machines, use those already present in the jurisdiction in use by another law enforcement facility. While some jurisdictions complain about the minimum requirements of SORNA, they ignore the significant flexibility that is provided for by the law. For example, nothing in SORNA requires that all registration activities occur in a single location. If necessary registration equipment is present in a jurisdiction at a location other than the registration site, then requiring sex offenders to visit multiple local locations to perfect a registration is perfectly acceptable. Individuals can have great negative or positive impact on the implementation process.

    Communication between jurisdictions is mandatory—while at the SMART Office we implemented a secure communication system for all sex offender registry systems. We created and implemented a Tribal and Territory registry so that all remaining jurisdictions could utilize the communication system to enhance the national sharing of information. Make no mistake, these multimillion dollar systems were given to all registration jurisdictions—free of charge.

    SORNA needs your support. The SMART Office has been fighting an uphill battle since the day its doors were opened in 2006—a battle for everything from adequate staffing to sufficient funding. In 2008, Congress provided a mere $4 million dollars to the COPS Office for sexual predator elimination activities and $850,000 for the national sex offender public website. You would think that this money would have easily found its way to the SMART Office. It did not. Congress has never directly appropriated any funds to the SMART Office for the important work that it does.

    Support for the SMART Office does not seem to be increasing under the new administration. The SMART Office was the sole office for which an acting director was not appointed during the transition period. Future financial support for SORNA implementation is unsure.

    Let me address the public relations battle we are up against. The Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice under the Bush administration never defended the Adam Walsh Act. Not only did they not defend it—-which should have been easy—-they prevented me and others from going on television and radio, to educate the public about the benefits of the Act. I can not tell you how many times I went to the communications office, asking, begging to be allowed to write articles, respond to blatantly wrong papers and statements regarding SORNA and sex offender registration. I was repeatedly turned down—prohibited from fighting back.

    My friends, we are at a fork in the road –and we may lose the battle. The voice of the Surviving Parents Coalition is strong. I urge you to use your voice—to go up on the Hill and force our representatives to stick with the policies of the ADAM WALSH ACT. Tell Senator Leahy to ignore those who are urging him to gut it. Tell him, and others, that registration should be mandatory, that risk assessments are pure guesswork.

    And ask yourself, if this law is gutted and changed as those who are soft on sex offenders desire, when this group gathers again next year, how much bigger of a room will be needed to hold all of the newly initiated members because Congress decided to walk away from mandatory sex offender registration.

    Thank you. God bless you and the United States of America.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Defunding the Fight Against Sexual Predators

    1. Chris, North Carolin says:

      The Adam Walsh Act is an exercise in futility. We need to stop associating Sex Offender with Sexual Predator. The majority of sex offenders are not pedophiles or rapists. This fact is supported by multiple major private and government funded studies.

      Cluttering the registry with non-violent offenders is a safety risk to all of us. We need the system to be smarter and more effective. When we see the registry, we need to see who is truly dangerous, going beyond those defeats the purpose of the registry entirely.

      When we get “registry” happy, we lose sight of our goal; keeping children safe from dangerous people.

      Be careful when you ask for registries of any kind. You may soon find that you have to register as one who believes in God or anything else deemed "unpopular". This is a reality in a number of countries.

      • jay says:

        i agree….i have a friend that was convicted of public urination…but the officer told him that if he were to be convicted of indecent public exposure he would have to be on that list for a minimum of 10 yrs..what do you think that would do to this man's life for something like that…but yet there is no way for the general public to distinguish between the two …half of american citizens don't even understand what the charges mean and how the state comes to the conclusion of what things like sexual battery or gsi are… people are just plain scared and they dont even know why and the politicians feed on this fact to gain votes,…its no longetr about justice or insight but instilling fear to control public opinion..its good to know who has done real whysical harm someone but i feel the man who just fell into a bad situation with the wrong girl shoulnt be punished the same as a person who planned and executed a rape…..where's the lines…

    2. Charles, Texas says:

      Call me paranoid if you like, but I feel that there is nolonger "any" representation inside the beltway for the average American. You know, the ones that believe in God & country, a good solid work ethic, the right of self determination, that follow "the Rule of Law", those who don't wait for or want FEMA help. It's bad enough to watch everything that you have "sacrificed" to build & save, evaporate before you eyes, but our children are sacred. What are we if we do not do everything possible to protect our best & greatest natural resource? The fear that the Left has been using is rapidly turning into anger. God help us.

    3. Mr. Kennedy, Ohio says:

      There are a lot of negative consequences to enforcing the Walsh Act, many of which can be found here:

      http://www.oncefallen.com/AdamWalshAct.html

      Here in Ohio [as well as Oklahoma] we already have the Walsh Act. Overnight, the number of so-called "Tier 3" offenders went from around 30% to about 80% overnight. No new offense, just new requirements. You call risk assessments a "roll of the dice." I know of one famous case where someone who had consensual teen sex at age 16 with his girlfriend who lied about her age and turned out to be 13, and is now considered a Tier 3 offender courtesy of the Walsh Act. You can read that case here: http://www.rickyslife.com. True pedophiles make up by far the smallest minority of sex crimes. The Walsh Act does not recognize nor make provisions for the treatment and rehabilitation of those who have committed sex crimes. In fact, the only "education" the Walsh Act gives is promoting the myths and fears people ALREADY believe about those on sex registries. The laws on tuna nets to prevent dolphins from being trapped in the nets are more stringent than the standards to prevent minor sex crimes from being included with the serious offenses.

      Congress already knows the Walsh Act was more about protecting their public image than about protecting children. It is more about public shaming than about public safety. That's the cold hard reality. Think about it. What does all the practices of the Walsh Act [registries, civil commitment, mandatory minimums, GPS programs, expanding jurisdictions, a child abuse registry, the degradation of defendant's rights in sex crime cases, etc.] do to address the root causes of sex crimes? Even before the Walsh Act, stats show around 95% of sex crimes are committed by first time offenders.

      In regards to the registry, here is another good guide on the ineffectiveness of registries: http://www.oncefallen.com/registriesrevisited.htm….

      In that link are TWO recent studies that debunked the myth of registries. Again, registries do not address the issue. Furthermore, while relatively small numbers of people actually use the registry, 40% of registrants, as well as 40% of loved ones of registrants, have been victimized by vigilantes. Almost 200 registrants or those merely accused of sex crimes have been killed by vigilantes. It seems these laws cause far more crimes of violence than they solve.

      The problem with many sex offender laws is that they are based on emotion rather than reason. The letter by Ms. Rogers proves my point. We name a law after a murdered child [who, in this case, was not murdered by a convicted sex offender], then use that name to shame those who oppose the law into submission. What we know as the Walsh Act was a stagnant bill until John Walsh attached his name to the bill and shamed members of Congress to pass it. [see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti…. The result is a bill Congress never wanted but was too afraid to speak out against it because opposing it is political suicide. Prevention, rehabilitation, and treatment works, but are unpopular; revenge, fear-mongering and political grandstanding are popular, but ineffective. Which is more important, what is POPULAR or what is EFFECTIVE?

    4. Margie, Illinois says:

      Americans need to take a close look at the current sex-offender qualifications. Should an 18 year old who has consensual sex with their 17, 16 or 15 year old partner be stigmatized as being a registered sex-offender? In America the majority of people believe if you are a registered sex-offender then you are a child rapist and/or pedophile. There are thousands of innocent people who are being forced to become a registered sex-offender everyday. Public urination and “mooning” are both convictions that will also land you on the registry for a minimum of ten years.

    5. Citizens for Change, says:

      I am amazed that so many seemingly intelligent and professional people are SO misguided and so easily by Politicians and the Media.

      Professionals from all over the nation have stated countless times that the Adam Walsh Act and S.O.R.N.A. are a failure and harm more people than good.

      Hundreds of thousands of visitors daily and weekly to our website:
      http://www.cfcamerica.org
      Shows clearly that this subject needs to be researched.

      Please, owners of this website and politicians alike, read the reports and stories on our website.

      Many professionals have done volumes of research and state that AWA needs to be done away with or re worked.

      People like:

      The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

      Human Rights Watch

      The Justice Policy Institute

      Please come and read of the abuses of this legislation.

      Look at the link, Why We Are Here on Citizens for Change Website.

      Please do not continue to be fooled by ignorant people who spout untruths and ignore the professionals… These laws are harming countless citizens, children, women and men… and they are Unconstitutional.

      Thank you

      Citizens for Change, America… http://www.cfcamerica.org

    6. franky says:

      I read yoru take on this, and it smacks of the same drakonian laws being forced on ex-sex offenders today. A risk accessment is the CORRECT way to guage whether someone will offend or not. and for you, and un-educated hack, to say that someone unqualified would be asking the questions is both un-informed and an outright lie. Experienced Sex Offender Treatmentproviders are the ones that administer these "questions" while submitting the ex-sex offender to years of counciling. The ex-sex offender is not just sat down ni a chair given a cup of coffee, and patted on the back. They are put through extensive testing, behavioral treatment, and electronic testing to ensure that they are on their way to a non-offensive life after they are released from parole/probation.

      You need an education, but ofcourse, you don't need one.. you only want to know hate.

    7. Anthony, Alabama says:

      This issue has no business being political zed. Our political system of Right versus Left has noting to do with the common sense fact that hundreds of thousands of people have been caught up in sex offender registration who are not sexual predators and offenders of children. The post from Charles of Texas is a perfect example of the problem. He talks about the issue as if a bunch of radical far left un-American maniacs are trying to derail the protection of children. This could not be further from the truth. Simply put, the current movement against sex offender laws just asks for a common sense approach. Should a person who committed a minor act not involving a child 25 years ago with no offense since that lapse in judgment but put side by side the person who molests a 4 year and has just be released from prison? The answer is absolutely not…but many states have laws set up exactly in this manner. Alabama for instance is one of those states. No one is saying there shouldn't be laws in place to protect children but they need to basic elements of common sense and they need to actually do what they were designed to do and not simply provide a feel good political victory for some politician.

    8. Roy Kass says:

      This article was a blatant smack in the face of victims of sex crimes, law enforcement, and to anyone with common sense.

      The victims of sexual offenders are again victims. How can law enforcement keep real victims safe, when they're chasing down offenders who's crimes range from misdemeanor Indecent Exposure to Public Lewdness. This act isn't merely tracking pervs like pedophiles and violent rapist. Its tracking 18/19 year old HS students who have relationships with their freshmen counterparts. Depending on the prosecutor an 18 year old could be charged with Felony Rape because their significant other who's in high school with them may not be old enough to give consent according to the law. That would be a lifetime registration under Adam Walsh since its a rape charge. Even though it wasn't a forcible rape there isn't any wiggle room under the new law, that kid would be lifetime registration.

      The lawmakers has watered down the law so much that even the victims that the law is named after (like the Wetterlings) and other parents that were victims have spoken out against some of the new laws.

      In fact, this Adam Walsh law EMPOWERS sex offenders. If your a perv, wouldnt you like the fact that their are more and more offenders city, state and nationwide. If police are too busy chasing offenders with misdemeanors then there is a greater chance they won't pay attention to one particular guy. If neighbors get notices everyday about offenders what are the chances they'll remember every one of them? Soon they'll be able to hide in plain site, thanks to the govt.

      Laura Rogers of the SMART office (which has to be a play on words)has obviously been misinformed about the Adam Walsh Act, law enforcement, sex offenders and the registration process. Its very obvious from her completely inaccurate comments as to why she is the FORMER director of the Smart office.

      Hopefully, they throw out the act and draft one with the help of people in law enforcement and professionals who actually deal with sex offenders instead of wasting tax payer monies on a hodgepodge law that serves no one.

    9. Tim Michigan says:

      The fact that on one hand this person does not turst the numbers or the studies that have been done when it comes to recidivism on the part of sex offenders. And yet in the same artical she says that it is known from studies that child molesters have a higher rate of recidivism then the numbers say. She also says that you can not trust risk accessments! And yet she fails to take into account the fact that sex offenders can change. If they can not change then why have treatment programs. This person does not even look at the Dept. Of Justice own study on the recidivism rate of sex offenders. Is she so full of herself as to think that only her way is the right way. Is she so sure that we need to put a group of ex offenders in the trash and forget about them moving foward with the thier lives as productive tax paying citizans. Or would she rather they just keep the label and not be able to move foward and the rest of us in this country have to pay the taxes and pay for the other services that non- productive members of this country use. Has she forgotten that everyone should get a second chance. Has she overlooked all those who have in the past been for these very laws, now relizing that for the most part the sex offender laws have gone way to far and included way to many people? I would like to hear what her response would be.

    10. Fima, Minneapolis says:

      This is simple: sex offender registration is preventing any registrant from getting job and housing.

      In reality this is pariahs class, very similar with pariahs classes created in Nazi Germany and former USSR.

      Here is a great danger for public safety: hungry "predators" sitting somewhere without any money and food.

      There is only hate in all these laws, and their goal is to

      apply deadly requirements to prevent any sex offender from rehabilitation and returning to normal live.

      Sorry but I am surprised by stupidity of most politicians in America, and hungry for money sex offender industry.

      I am really sorry for you, Laura Rogers, but you lost sense of reality, like most politicians did. That was reason for recent very great depression, and I will be very happy to see all of like you at garbage stations looking for food. Will see you there.

    11. Rickysmom Oklahoma says:

      The Adam Walsh Act is a violation of our constitutional rights and violates Double Jeopardy, Expo Facto, Equal Rights Protection and Due Process. There indeed dangerous and violent offenders and they should be monitored or committed. However, the AWA does not go by case or assessment and labels many as dangerous predators for non violent crimes. Example: my son Ricky had teen consensual sex at 16 with a young lady who admitted to District Attorney she lied about her age. Ricky was given a two year deferred and then in 2008 a expungment by the court. However, the AWA put Ricky at Tier 3, high risk predator status cause of his charge not because he was assessed or given a fair hearing as a therapist looked at his case for review of his level and now DOC will not honor his expungment and at age 20 he for life has to abide by residency and new laws in which he cannot find work, housing and his driver license reads sexoffendetr. he is no threat his therapist stated in his report but again no assessment just AWA says he is a predator and to hell with his rights..His life is ruined and yt he has no criminal rcord…how many more teens like my son are on the registry who are no threat? How can the public and children we claim to protect being misinformed and misled by the registry and its obvious inaccuracy regarding true dangers? Cases like Rickys prove beyond a shadow of a bout the registry is bogus and ineffective tool cause the public no longer can determine real risks with the variety of cases amongst the thousands. We need to reform it for those determined to be violent and dangerous by a panel of experts/professionals and stop basing these laws and hate and emotions. There is report after report by professionals and we need ot have fact based laws which truly are accurate and honor our federal and stae constitutions. I am against the AWA cause it causes more harm then good and is a misleading, useless law which has no effect on protecting our children. Read my sons story and Mark Lunsford I hope you are cause you said Josh was a romeo. Well my child is too and your son was saved thankfully, well my son suffers daily and at times doesn't even want to live this life…I ask you sir to contact me and help me fight for all our children who are Romeos. http://www.rickyslife.com or email me rickysmom@rickyslife.com or http://www.cfcoklahoma.org

    12. Jon, North Dakota says:

      Shame on Ms. Rogers. I attended the 2008 Smart Symposium and challenged anyone to debate whether a 3-tier system based on current risk was inferior to an offense-based system, where the prosecutor and defense attorney reach an agreement on the conviction offense at one point in history. No takers.

      She says, "We are engaged in a battle with those who believe that sex offenders should not be held accountable for their vicious acts, acts similar to those that brought each and every one of you here today." I am sex crimes prosecutor who fights to incarcerate these criminals every day. I guess when you can't win the argument in principle, then scaring and misleading people is the next best tactic.

      Taking into account the facts of treatment progress, community support systems, and alcohol and drug abstinence makes sense, as does paying attention to the negative dynamic factors of treatment washout, risky behaviors, and reinvolvement in drugs and alcohol.

      Any time Ms. Rogers wants a public debate about which approach makes the most sense, I'll be there. We were registering sex offenders years before Congress told us we had to, and notifying the public about high-risk offenders long before employment with the DOJ made Ms. Rogers so "Smart."

    13. Beverly, Texas says:

      The AWA and SORNA are not common sense laws. In Texas a 19 year old who has sex with his willing 14 -16 year old girlfriend is charged with the exact same offense as a 19 year old who forcefully and violently rapes a 14 – 16 year old. They both face the exact same charges, punishment range, and crime of conviction. Thus, according to AWA they would both be labeled Tier 3 offenders and face a lifetime on the registry. All requirements would be the same of both. Is this an efficient use of taxpayer funds to monitor both these offenders for life? Anyone with any common sense knows the answer to that question. I would ask the Surviving Parents Coalition to insist that these laws focus on those kinds of people who harmed their children. Until this country focuses its resources on those who truly are dangerous our children will not be any safer.

    14. Jane Seymore Texas says:

      The writer of this article should pray and pray often. Bitterness and anger is not the answer. Those exact emotions have played a huge part in current "sex offender" laws which are not keeping anyone safer. They are, in fact, costing taxpayers millions of dollars to prosecute, incarcerate, and monitor thousands who pose no risk to anyone.

    15. J. Morgan, Californi says:

      I sincerely hope that those that read this can the see the differences between those who pose a threat, and those who do not. One of the areas I object to are those who are deemed sex offenders in one state, but would not be deemed a sex offender in another state because of the stark differences in the "age of consent laws" In California it is 18, and in Colorado it is 15, while in Idaho it is 14. In our state, young men 18, who date someone in their own school 16, may be sent to prison. This practice has to stop!

      CA for balanced laws would like to see Jessica's Law and Megan's law repealed or rewritten entirely. All California's offenders are all in one big pot. Treatment is the same. Campaign fliers blurred the distinction between sex offender–a broad category that includes crimes that were consentual, non violent and did not involve children.

      Law makes no distinction between serious crimes and minor offenses.

      Law is ambiguous on which offenders will be effected, leaving it open to "ex post facto" challenges.

      When a child is hurt, we all suffer. It is beyond our comprehension how someone could do something so horrible. But, again there are parents who harm their own children. Do we then punish every parent? Of course not. While teen sex goes on everyday, only those few will get reported. Therefore, only some will have their lives ruined forever. If we are smart, if we truly care about protecting all our children, then these laws must reflect that. We should consentrate on those who are sick, not every person who may have had a consentual relationship with someone under 18. While trying to protect children, we are destoying thousands. And I think those children are important too. Many offenders go on to marry the young women(victim) who they were procesuted for. Their children suffer. The whole family suffers. I dated my husband when I was 16, he was 21, and we have been married for 38 years. Under our states law today, he would be considered a sex offender. This is breaking down our society. It simply must stop.

    16. Magister, Fl says:

      I am so impressed at the wonderful comments posted. They have pretty much said it all. The AWA Act was passed in Congress under suspension of rules. Our Congress are supposed to be educated men and women who represent ALL of the people. They are not representing me or the thousands of people who called,emailed, wrote, and faxed the members of congress begging that this bill not be heard under suspension of rules and that it be given a full hearing. We were ignored. I cannot add to what has already been commented on here except to say that these people are speaking the truth.

      It is an horrible bill that does more harm than good. To protect our children, we MUST start looking at this situation with logic and pass effective laws that concentrate of those most dangerous of offenders.
      http://www.uncomfortabletruth.org

    17. Pete Kalamazoo, MI says:

      I am incredulous at the comments to this blog posting. This is either a coordinated seminar response from the ACLU or there are a collection of very misguided individuals (read "sick" if you want), who coincidentally read this blog and felt "compelled" to respond. You know the word "compulsion," right?

      First, the Adam Walsh Act has hardly had sufficient enactment time to warrant the hateful and wrong-headed commentary outlined above. Second, these posts miss the forest for the trees. Are there possibly some CSC statutes which, in application, could be revised? Sure, but that's no different than any criminal statute; that, however, does not render the Adam Walsh Act worthy of de-funding.

      Further, you all miss another aspect of this post. The Obama Administration, through Attorney General Holder, espouses the merit of the legislation and the worthiness of its continued implementation and then does not provide for funding to back up such rhetoric. Such hypocrisy is far more problematic than the nit-picking critique offered by the few coordinated first responders above.

      Finally, labeling this blogger as "hateful" is beyond the pale. But taking your language, "hateful" of what? Of sick sexual predators, who victimize defenseless children with abhorrent sexual deviancy? You bet — and, if so, count me with him.

    18. Kelly R Piercy, Geor says:

      I find Ms. Roger's quote interesting. She spends more time pleading for funding than presenting facts.

      The straightforward speech is anything but straightforward. It is clear that she comes from a lawyers background. In an adversarial process there is one cardinal rule if the system is to work, honesty. When that fails, the system fails.

      In an adversarial system, there is one set of facts. The Prosecution, in prosecuting the defendant, presents a theory of the case. The Defense, in defending the accused, presents its theory of the case. Clearly, with one set of facts, the first victim is truth.

      It is not the duty of the Prosecution to prosecute the accused nor is it the duty of the Defense to defend the accused. The duty of the Prosecution is to prosecute the law and the duty of the Defense is to ensure the accused rights are not violated.

      What Ms. Roger's does in this speech is what all the hysteria around the sex offender issue and what is wrong with the AWA is all about. Ms. Roger's constantly moves from those convicted of a sex offense to the lurking molester/rapist behind every bush. She goes on to ignore the fact that these laws have had zero impact on the rate of sex offense.

      Ms. Roger's cleverly omits the fact that over 95% of all sex crimes are not committed by persons previously convicted of a sex offense. She ignores the fact that over 80% of all offenses against children are committed in the home by parents, siblings, close relatives, and persons known to and trusted by the family.

      It is shameful that a public official would so blatantly lie and use a forum of unfortunate parents as a bully-pulpit.

      Do not be lulled into this lawyers trick. Learn the facts. Understand that the AWA is not, as Ms. Roger's would have you believe, targeted at the very small percentage of violent and repeat offenders. If you support this position, you may well find yourself joining the ever growing fight to stop this insanity because you will be the mother or father of a child who is forced to register for life because they had a consensual encounter with their girlfriend, or the wife of a good man who chatted online.

      Will you continue to be led by myth, lies, and hysteria to blind hatred, or will you educate yourself and answer with facts, truths, reason, and compassion?

      Kelly R Piercy

      http :www.gasorr.org/
      gasoem@gmail.com

      gasorr.org

      P. O. Box 180

      Hull, GA 30646

      (706) 955 2009

    19. MSLGWCEO says:

      Magister, Fl writes:

      "I am so impressed at the wonderful comments posted. They have pretty much said it all. The AWA Act was passed in Congress under suspension of rules."

      And that is the very reason why it should not be funded. Suspension of the rules meaning non-controversial, no debate.

      It has NEVER been debated ever.

      But guess what, There should remain zero funds until it is debated and "evidence Based research" brought into play. We have passed the AWA through an "emotional" response. Guess what Heritage House, "Emotion makes for BAD BAD law, because emotion lacks intelligence."

      On March 10 there will be the beginning of many meetings on the AWA. Everyone contact your congressman and request he/she be there.

      http://www.cfcoklahoma.org

    20. CFC Washington, Wash says:

      Pete Kalamazoo, MI writes:

      "First, the Adam Walsh Act has hardly had sufficient enactment time to warrant the hateful and wrong-headed commentary outlined above."

      Sir, two years is a long time to see if something will work or not. Research shows that states that try to "comply" with AWA will spend 10-20 times the amount of Byrne Grants they will receive for falling in line.

      Second, it doesn't take a genius to see that a consensual teen having sex (Statutory Rape) is nothing like the killer of Adam Walsh.

      It would be a similar comparison to say that a teen who steals a candy bar is the same as someone who robs a bank at gunpoint.

      How, sir, do you suggest that by labeling someone via their conviction is a better system than by assessing their risk to reoffend?

      So far, not 1 state is in in full compliance with AWA. Why? Money. It costs too much. States that try, see a 150-300% increase in the number of level three offenders, overnight!

      How is that creating safety for our Nations Children?

      How does the Adam Walsh Act create peace of mind?

      Research, sir, suggests that it never will…

    21. Mark degripper, Taco says:

      Is Lifers Union Advocacy Group (http://www.lifersunion.org/ ) just a front organization for sex predators housed at the McNeil Island Special Commitment Center?

      Lifers Union Advocacy Group (LUAG) states:

      Lifers Union Advocacy Group (LUAG) is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and literary purposes, Lifers Union Advocacy Group is organized for the purposes of sponsoring and contributing to activists and/or organizations working toward the betterment in family and otherwise social contacts for individuals incarcerated in prisons and/or mental hospitals nationwide;

      This is from the web-page of the group and this is from the web-page of DSHS which keeps this group off the streets:

      The Special Commitment Center Program, operated by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), provides a specialized mental health treatment program for civilly committed sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences.

      The civil commitment process is under the authority of the superior court in the county where an individual was previously convicted of sex crimes. Only sex offenders whom the court finds to meet the legal definition of a sexually violent predator may be civilly committed to the Special Commitment Center (SCC).

      Public safety is the central purpose of the Community Protection Act of 1990. In each of its facilities, the Special Commitment Center Program employs a variety of stringent public safety and security measures to provide for the community's safety.

      Yes, the men who operate Lifers Union Advocacy Group are sexually violent predators, the worst of the worst, men like Kevin Coe, the South Hill Rapist, Richard Roy Scott the untreated child rapists, Joel S. Reimer child raper who, if released in the morning would be raping before night fall.

      How is it that this group is allowed to use the internet to continue their sex offending ways? The men who run this group are strong-arming weaker inmates, forcing them to give up monies for their personal cause.

      The members of Lifers Union Advocacy Group are nothing more then sex predators using the net to offend. Joel S. Reimer aka Jayzack j.s.White Crow-reimer, a man so sick he has been locked away for the last 17 years still finds time to abuse other less able inmates. This rapist is the leader of the newsletter, and must be stopped.

    22. Tucker, Michigan says:

      I've worked in a Michigan prison hospital and never met a sex offender, or any other offender for that matter, who ever had any remorse for their crimes. Usually they will tell you they were framed, wrongfully prosecuted, etc. And they all scream for more "rights", thanks to the ACLU.

      I say close all the prisons and return to lynching, gas chambers, drawn & quartered, head removal, and fire up old sparky. Let all executions be televised and open to live audiences. These people gave up their "rights" when they broke the law and were sentenced.

    23. Tucker, Michigan says:

      The "risk assessors" should be documented and should be prosecuted each time an offender they deem to be a low risk, offends again. Kinda like Russian roulette, huh?

    24. Slippery Slope in Oh says:

      The problem is the registry has so many people listed, there is no way to no who is really dangerous. It is interesting in Ohio how so may people were at the lowest level on the registry & with implementation of AWA became a Tier 3 Offender??? I think there is an inherent problem with the law. It is pure politics—how easy for politicians to go after this group of people. The majority of the public is so naive to this subject, they jump on bandwagon of feel good laws. We need politicians to base laws on facts & not feelings. Most child victems are violated by family member or friend of family not some stranger. Why is that never mentioned by politicians. The public needs to be concerned when CIVIL RIGHTS are violated. This is an easy group to walk on but who will be next. Which group next will be subjected to ex-post facto and retroactivity? Americans need to be concerned.

    25. Honest Opinion says:

      Finally, labeling this blogger as “hateful” is beyond the pale. But taking your language, “hateful” of what? Of sick sexual predators, who victimize defenseless children with abhorrent sexual deviancy? You bet — and, if so, count me with him.

      Defending Mrs. Roger "Stimson" is one thing BUT, your languade in naming registrants as sick child sexual predator is the exact reason why these laws need to be reformed. The save the children hysteria has lost it's glimmer and the facts are pouring in.

    26. st florida says:

      There is a BIG difference between a sexual predator an a sexual offender. As a mother who know both types of people I still believe in registration for the predatory sexual offender yet not for the non-predatory sexual offender. Do we tell bank robbers they can't visit banks after they get out? Do we know where the drug addicts who sold drugs to minors now lives after his or her release? The Adam Walsh Act got put through because Adam Walsh was after all a child and the fear factor was played up.

    27. De Marcs says:

      This article has misrepresented and attempted to misinform people about the process of "risk based assessments" of sex offenders or preditors. Risk assessment is a statistically proven method, uncovered by scientists and experts, over the decades, to reasonably predict which sex offenders are going to reoffend and which ones respond better to rehab. It has been effective on both sex offenders and predators (please not that there are differences between the two), enabling authorities and society to know who is who and to determenine the level of montoring that will be required. Lumping almost every sex offender as predators, pedophiles or high risk offenders is counterproductive. What good does it do to put a 17 year old high school boy convicted of having consensual sex with his 14 year old girlfriend in the same tier (as AWA makes it) with a 50 year old man who abducted and raped a 12 year old kid? The article represented the assessment as if it's just a casual interview, over a beer, with the offender and taking the offender's word for it. No sir! They pull court records, review criminal history, mental health records, and in some States , like NJ and MN, they involve proecutors, pyschiatrists, and in Arkansas, they employ lie dectectors tests on certain offenders in the process and give the offender the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on why he/she should not be deemed high risk. It's due process and most Americans understand and cherish due process. Sounding "tough" on crime is good and may yields political winfall to a politician or monetary windfall for certain activists, but being wise in fighting crime protects our children better as it also make better use of law enforcement dollars. The American masses have been fooled for a long time. But now, you can see that the tide turning. Politicians can fool people sometimes, but not all the time.

    28. Terrance, Washington says:

      This article is little more than propaganda. The AWA has nothing to do with "requiring sex offenders to register with local officials," as that has been handled for nearly two decades under Megan's Law.

      The AWA is one man's act of vengeance against the American people for what another man did to his son. It asks us to set aside science, reason, liberty, and indeed the safety of our children in favor of the gratification some feel by 'lashing out.'

      Laws will never suffice as a surrogate for good parental protection. Pushing a class of people into a corner, robbing the of their birth-given freedoms and disconnecting them from the world–as the AWA begins to do–can only cause us more injury, through the kids murdered by offenders who realize society has no capacity for forgiveness and who does not believe in second chances, and through the gradual erosion our individual rights; today's sex offenders are tomorrow's unpopular group.

      I have little to say for the simple fact that congressmen cannot be the bold, decisive and honest people we fantasized they were in our youth, yet I have at least some admiration for those who act–or fail to do so–in defense of our rights and of common sense.

    29. Advocate says:

      Many of the posters here, for and against the AWA are incorrect. Most, if not all of these parents who have lost a child are HIGHLY PAID LOBBYISTS for the perpetuation of draconian sex offender laws. Non Governmental Organizations enlist them to be the mouthpiece to propagate this nonsense. It is all designed to acclimate the public to the idea of registries where being tracked and traced for life is a "good thing". Life time probation for the populace is the goal. I`d say it`s high time parents understand that these laws which are, on the surface suppose to "protect the children" are meant to ensnare their own children when they reach puberty (as the largest group of people added to the registries last year (2009) were teenagers.) I must say though, it is encouraging to see that there is a small, albeit increasing public backlash against these registries, due to the ever increasing numbers of non violent people added to them every year..

    30. Larry, Phoenix, Ariz says:

      I have been convicted in 2007 for possession of materials involving a minor (video of 15y.o. female). The SORNA is just a part of many Acts. You can count them on two hands and then some. There are state regulations that are already in place. The fact that SORNA made it to the hill has a lot to do with the sensationalism of larger offenses, mostly rape and murder. I agreee there are people (fiends) whom belong on the registry. I was abused, sexually, as a child and did not know it until after I was arrested for ordering the video online where at the time of detetion/incarceration my sister told me about [our] past. I am petioning to have a RISK ASSESSMENT in hopes that I can be classified a Tier I so that I only have to register for 10 years. The quality of rehabilitation and treatment is exceptional in the state of Arizona. The counselors perform a stellar job in making sure those who need medication or just rehab are weeded out appropriatley. the major tell-all tool in determining risk factor—better than any politician— is the POLYGRAPH TEST. These are used frequently in Arizona phsychological assesments and treatment maintainance. See my site to understand how unconstitutional the SORNA and Statge registraton and notification laws really are: . Wake up and smell the offender not the offense.

    31. Roberta, Ohio says:

      Everyone is adding to the problems we already have. First educatie yourself about the sex offenses and offenders, from tiny to large. Tier I, II and III and what they mean and what is serious, etc. Here in Ohio, there is no longer sagitory rape, now it is rape or not. So, a 17 year old and her 19 year old boyfriend have been doing things that mom and dad don't like, Tier I, we need to use common sense before pressing charges.

      Tier III, now we are getting serious. Example, a tier III predator, named Robin Scott near us, Ohio only has him listed as that, he is NOT compliant the site says, but was charged out of state. Then in FL we find he was charged for sexual battery against minors under 16 years and under 12 years. Now he is going online and meeting single women with children, the one he is seeing now, her son is 8 years old. OK, that is why it is rediculous to say (I just read this someplace) "….what about the drug dealer who dealed to a minor after they are released?" What kind of comparison is that? We as parents need to step up to the plate and do the best we can to educate our kids about drugs and pray they make the right choices. We as parents MUST step up and behind our kids and STOP those preditors from harming our kids. IF you know your boyfriend or girlfriend is a sex predator, tier III, whatever, and you continue to see him/her, plain and simple, you don't need kids. YES MAKE TIER III OFFENDERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR MISTAKES!! They will not stop, we need to protect our kids, and those who won't do it, we need to do it for them.

      Get the petitions ready and I will sign, PROTECT OUR KIDS!!!!!!!

    32. cynthia baniassad no says:

      november 5 2010: saw jane velez mitchell's parents' worst nightmare programme. i was disappointed no email or other kind of address was given for donations or for joining a "friends of surviving parents" type of organization. could you send any of that type of info to my email address?

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