Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My take on the Oregonian hit piece as a SO Clear Response video

The full length audio response is here:

And here is a summary of the articles:


Below is a short article I'm writing for the ICoN Newsletter:


As the Oregon State University baseball team stood at the cusp of a historic run to the College World Series, one young man was credited as having led the team through his own historic performance—ace pitcher Luke Heimlich. Unfortunately, Heimlich also committed an offense as a juvenile and is forced to register as a low-level registrant. On the day OSU reached Omaha for the Super Regionals series against Vanderbilt, the Oregonian newspaper engaged in a targeted campaign to humiliate both Heimlich and the University. Initially, the paper released FOUR articles targeting Heimlich, including an article defending their actions. One reporter stated, “Our society decided long ago that sex offenders should carry the burden of their conviction well after their sentences end - and that juvenile sex crimes should follow offenders into adulthood.” Another stated, “"Can we start with the premise that human life matters? … The victim matters. She matters more than Heimlich…Some people, myself included, don't believe a registered sex offender has a place on a major college athletics team. I don't believe an athlete who has committed a violent offense, including domestic violence, belongs there either.”

And, of course, the biggest bomb of all—“ For those who say Heimlich has, "Paid his debt to society" or "Been punished for his crime," and should be left alone -- huh? An important part of his punishment is that he has to register as a sex offender. There's a reason a felony crime is a felony crime. The punishment is supposed to act as a deterrent.” I have to thank him for admitting the registry is punishment, despite the absurd claim in Smith v Doe (2003).

I believe this to be an act of vigilantism, NOT journalism, but it poses some questions—at what point can a RC ever be redeemed and allowed to become a productive member of society? And just what kind of jobs should we be allowed to have? Consider the fact Iron Mike Tyson had a successful career despite being forced to register. What about Ben Roethlisberger? He was suspended for 8 games (reduced to 6) on a sex crime allegation that was eventually dropped, but still plays football and the arrest jokes have all been played out. But both of these men were current players. Heimlich, on the other hand, was convicted at 15, years before going to college. He served his sentence and completed treatment. Even the original article stated juveniles are very amenable to treatment and less likely to reoffend than adult offenders. Yet, this paper made every effort to derail this kid’s career, and they appear to be successful.

Sadly, this brings me to a sad realization—As registrants, we will have to prepare for our lives to be derailed at any time, for any reason, by people who don’t believe we deserve second chances. They feel we don’t deserve any successes, or even a voice. We have to fight for our successes. It is up to you to find that strength, but you don’t have to fight alone. If you stand up and fight, I’ll stand with you, and hopefully, we will encourage others to take a stand as well.