Thursday, November 17, 2011

The alleged victim of the Sandusky/ Penn State case shows us the fallacy of the public registry

The question of the public registry has always been its perceived effectiveness. After all, around 95% of sex crime arrests are of people who are not on the public registry, added to the fact that few registered citizens re-offend, not to mention that many on the registry are on there for such dangerous behavior as teens having consensual relations with other teens or sexting, or maybe even some of these silly cases, that one might question what good the public registry is in the first place.

Perhaps the most damning indictment of the public registry has come from the current Penn State alleged sexual abuse case (I say alleged because until a court has rendered a decision, those involved are innocent until proven guilty, despite what the media thinks). Below is a section from a current CNN article on the Sandusky case (scroll down about halfway to find it):

The mother of one of Sandusky's alleged victims -- identified as Victim 1 in the indictment -- told CNN on Wednesday that her son watched the NBC interview and cried. "I said, 'Well, why did you cry?' And he said, 'Because I'm afraid that he might go free,' " said the woman, whose face and voice were altered to protect her -- and by extension her son's -- identity.

She said she first got clues that something was wrong when her son's behavior changed. "He went from like being a perfect 1,2,3 magic child to being ornery and being arrogant and mean," she said. But when her son asked her to lie to Sandusky when he called the house, she became suspicious.

"Then, out of the blue, one day he was sitting at the computer and wanted to look up 'sex weirdos.' He asked me 'What's the website you get on to look them up?' And I told him it was Megan's Law. And he said, 'Well, how do I type it in?' So, I gave him the web address and he typed it into the computer and I said, 'Who are you looking for?' and he said 'Jerry.' "I kinda froze. I was like, wow. 'What are you looking him up for?' And he was like, 'Oh, I don't know. I just want to see if he's on there.' I said, 'Well, why would he be on there? Do you have something you want to tell me?' and he was like, 'No.'Asked what was going on with Sandusky, the boy answered, "Sometimes he just acts weird. So I just wanted to see if he was on there, that's all.'"

The mother said that, a few days afterward, she learned that Sandusky had been taking her son out of school without her permission, so she called school officials and asked them to talk to her son "and just ask him how he feels." Soon after, the principal called her back in tears and invited the boy's mother to meet with her and the school guidance counselor, the mother said. "They told me that my son had said some things about that there was a problem with Jerry," she said. "He just said that he thought he needed to tell somebody or it would get worse." The mother said that, at that point, she asked the school officials to call the police. "They said I needed to think about the ramifications of what would happen if I did that," she said.

No surprise, Sandusky was not on the Megan's fLaw website. The list does not work that way.

The Stop It Now website has a good commentary on this case and the importance of NOT relying on a list of "sex weirdos:"

We need to open our eyes to the reality of who sexually abuses children.  Research shows that adults know that children are most likely to be abused by someone they know and often love and admire.  We also know that most child sexual abuse is never reported to authorities.  So, just because someone seems really nice, has a good job, and is not on a sex offender registryi doesn’t mean they are safe with your children.  What really matters is how they behave around children. 

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