Alex Blaze

Do sex offenders deserve to live?

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 07, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: bridge, California, Georgia, inefficient, sex offender laws, sex offender registry

I think it's time we had a national debate on that question. Do sex offenders (any kind, dudes who cruise in parks, rapists, guys who collect child porn, exhibitionists...) deserve to live? Should we automatically give them the death penalty after being found guilty?

The debate can't end up much worse than the status quo. Sure, we seem to agree we can't just give everyone caught with kiddy porn pics on their computer lethal injection, but it doesn't seem we want them to live anywhere at all.

Nine homeless sex offenders directed to live in the woods behind a Marietta office park are scrambling to find new places to go after they were ordered to move.

The sex offenders were searching for a new place to pitch their tents Tuesday after state authorities told them they had to leave the area.

They had been directed to the spot by probation officers who said it was a location of last resort for the sex offenders barred from living in many areas by one of the nation's toughest sex offender policies.

William Hawkins, a 34-year-old who had lived in the camp for about two weeks, said he was not sure where he would move. He said, "If I don't have anywhere to go, they will re-arrest me."

Great. They were kicked out of urban, suburban, and small town areas because they have to live a certain distance from all parks and schools, and now they can't even live in the woods. It sounds like some people put their thinking caps on when developing that policy. But I guess the woods is better than being forced to live under a bridge:

Five men -- all registered sex offenders convicted of abusing children -- live along the causeway because there is a housing shortage for Miami's least welcome residents.

"I got nowhere I can go!" says sex offender Rene Matamoros, who lives with his dog on the shore where Biscayne Bay meets the causeway.

The Florida Department of Corrections says there are fewer and fewer places in Miami-Dade County where sex offenders can live because the county has some of the strongest restrictions against this kind of criminal in the country.

Florida's solution: house the convicted felons under a bridge that forms one part of the causeway.

Such laws aren't just about child rapists, even though they're made to seem like they're going to protect kids from the creepy dude handing out candy so he can kill your children. They're often target people who've never picked up a child from the street to have sex with her:

Elwell was convicted of engaging in sex with a 16-year-old girl at a high school when he was 27 years old.

"I made a mistake," Elwell said.

Since then, he says, he has tried to rebuild his life. He recently opened a pizzeria in Cape May. He married, and he and his wife, a teacher, have two toddlers.

In October, then-Gov. Richard J. Codey signed legislation to prevent sex offenders from trick-or-treating or passing out candy to children on Halloween.

"The only reason my wife and I have even bothered to come forward is because of our children," Elwell said. "I want to try and (make it) so that they can live a normal life."

Under current laws, he can't take his own children to the local park.

"I can't take them to the beach," he said. "My son is 1, and my daughter is 2 1/2, and I couldn't take them out for Halloween. Do they seriously think I'm going to walk down the street, with my two kids, and grab some other kid?"

Or they go after teens who have sex with slightly younger teens:

Shirley Turner of Hartland clutches her son William Elliott's photograph while listening to testimony about Maine's sex-offender registry Tuesday in Augusta. Her son is thought to have been killed by a Canadian who targeted him because Elliott was on the registry. Turner said her son didn't belong on the list, because he was not a dangerous pedophile. She said he had had consensual sex with a girl two weeks before her 16th birthday. The man at right is unidentified.[...]

William Thurber of Waldo, a sex offender who said he was convicted in Florida of having sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 19, said he is on welfare and unable to get a job because he is on Maine's registry, even though the crime he committed in Florida would not have been prosecuted in Maine. That claim was later confirmed by Evert Fowle, the district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, who said Thurber appears to have gotten "a raw deal" from Maine. The registry serves an important function because "we should be able to live in a state where we feel safe," said Kelly Thompson of Manchester, who identified herself as a mother.

Don't think these laws are making you or your children any safer. These laws weren't based on sound reasoning, careful research, and humanity. They're based on hysteria, with a healthy dose of frontier justice, which don't result in effective policy. And studies show sex offender registries don't work:

Conducted by independent psychologists along with staff from the state Department of Corrections' Office of Policy and Planning, this comprehensive study looked at 21 years of sex offense rates. It confirms in New Jersey what other studies have found elsewhere. Megan's Law "has no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses."

Megan's Law struck out on every important area related to protecting the community from sexual offenders. Not only is there no evidence that it reduces sexual re-offenses, Megan's Law fails to positively impact sex offender re-arrest rates, fails to change the type of re-offenses or first time offenses that occur and fails to reduce the number of victims involved in sexual offenses.

As the state agency charged with representing those required to register under Megan's Law, the Public Defender agrees completely with the study's findings and with its ultimate conclusion that "given the lack of demonstrable effect of Megan's Law on sexual offenses, the growing costs may not be justifiable."

What is equally remarkable is that other research cited by the New Jersey study, as well as our own experience, shows that Megan's Law can be "counterproductive." Notification laws have been found to isolate offenders from normal relationships, undercut their opportunities for housing and employment, and subject offenders to threats and assaults.

In some instances, the willingness to obtain treatment can be negatively impacted. As a result of these factors, the study's researchers determined the unintended consequences of Megan's Law may be to increase the risks of recidivism rather than to protect the community.

OK, that study was about Megan's Law, which requires registration of sex offenders. That's only part of the reason they have to live away from civilization and can't get jobs. The other reason are those zoning laws that force them to live sometimes so far away from schools that no housing even exists in their city. And those laws don't help anything either, since just because they can't live near a school doesn't mean they can't be near a school:

Plantier is among the experts who believe the measures may not protect children in the ways that elected officials intend.

Plantier worked for 27 years at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center prison in the Avenel section of Woodbridge, including 10 years as its superintendent.

Establishing "sex offender-free zones" may not have much impact, Plantier said.

"Sex offenders aren't nailed to the floor," Plantier said. "They can move around."

And such ordinances disregard some bitter truths about sex offenders, Plantier says.
The laws focus attention on strangers, Plantier said, but someone who is known by the victim --- a priest, a coach, a family member -- commits most sex offenses.

These laws don't work. They're a result of child molestation hysteria and dehumanization, not an actual search for a solution to the very real problem of sex offender recidivism. Some states that have these laws don't even provide treatment for sex offenders while in prison or help them transition to life outside prison, two of the best-known ways to prevent them from offending again.

But we have these laws because people are afraid, and that means that they'll vote out politicians they deem "soft on crime." The fact that people's lives are needlessly thrown away isn't important. They're just thirsty for blood.

So why not cut to the chase and just ask for lethal injection for all sex offenders upon conviction? Their lives are obviously worth nothing to society, and it would at least reduce recidivism.


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Thanks, Alex.

I'm glad to see this conversation being started. One clarifying point, though - recidivism among sex offenders is lower than that among other criminals.

And, as a friend put it to me the other day, we don't ask murderers to register themselves when they move into our neighbourhoods. That's not to diminish the effect of sexual abuse, but to question where the legal system has gone in its over-zealous rush to punish sex offenders.

This from the RSOL (Reform Sex Offender Laws) website:

http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/materials/10myths.php

"Contrary to widespread public opinion, once-caught sex offenders have a very low recidivism rate. With or without treatment, more than 87% of the once-caught do not commit another sex crime. With treatment, the likelihood of re-offending is even lower.

In contrast, according to the 2004 U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics study, 69% of all other types of criminals go back to prison, and they do so within five years. Over a longer period of time, other FBI statistics show, about 74% of all other types of offenders return to prison."

We could, of course, discuss the concept of criminal behaviour within the context of a state determined to increase the reach of the prison industrial complex by increasing the definitions of criminal behaviour (marijuana laws come to mind), but for now those numbers indicate that recidivism among sex offenders is not the issue. The kind of inhumane treatment you point to is the problem.

And, as you put it, these laws are "based on hysteria, with a healthy dose of frontier justice, which don't result in effective policy."

Are you seriously suggesting guys cruising in parks are equivalent to rapists and child molesters???

Um, what?

To what part of my comment above are you referring? I can take a rough guess that you might be referring to something else, but unless you clarify yourself, I'm not going to respond.

i am personally against capital punishment.

U.S. Department of Justice · Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Statistics

"Sex offenders with the highest rate of rearrest for another sex offense were those who had a history of prior arrests for various crimes. While 3.3 percent of sex offenders with one prior arrest were arrested for another sex crime after their release, that percentage more than doubled (7.4 percent) for those with 16 or more prior arrests for different types of crimes. Of the released sex offenders who allegedly committed another sex crime, 40 percent perpetrated the new offense within a year or less from their prison discharge.

Of the almost 9,700 sex offenders released in 1994, nearly 4,300 were identified as child molesters. An estimated 3.3 percent of the 4,300 released child molesters were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within 3 years. Most of the children they were alleged to have molested after leaving prison were age 13 or younger."

Javier,

I really don't think the DOJ counts as a credible source here, given its interest in rounding up and locking up as many people as possible.

I'd also urge everyone reading this to consider the class and race dynamics of incarceration, and the fact that being accused of being a sex offender - simply being accused - means that you are instantly isolated from your social and other networks.

"the woodsman"
is a very great film about sexual objectification and the concept of learning to see other people as people, not objects.
it's philosophical, but it takes on molestation and rape conceptually, not really dramaticly
but it is very profound on the subject.
it's kevin bacon and kyra sedgwick
(2007 i think)

Thanks for the reference, Javier - I'll have to take a look at the film.

In my experience, sex offenders tend to be unique among criminals because very often, they have no other criminal record except for the sex offenses. They don't deal drugs, rob people, or shoplift like your usual jack of all crimes criminal.

I do disagree with the way RSOL words their stats (The recidivism rate is not 69%, it is ridiculously high, but nowhere near 69%).

Also look at the stats they use, and you can see the old cliche about statistics being used to make your point, whatever your point may be. The recidivism rate was 5.3%, but they only tracked the people for three years. So, three years out, 1 out of 20 of them had already re-offended. That number will only increase as time goes on. And the thing about recidivism that never gets mentioned-it only includes the people who actually get caught. Others are still offending, they're just not getting caught.

And many states now have "violent criminal registries," so yes, the murderer very often does have to register.

I don't disagree with some of the assertions made (there does need to be a safe zone so sex offenders are not made homeless, and the statutory rape and sex offender connections need to be reformed). But we should not ignore the fact that for many of these people, treatment will not help, they should not be around children (and even their treatment stresses this), and the only way to prevent this is very often arming parents with the knowledge of their presence.

Chuck,

I'm not averse to battling with statistics (although the larger issues here are more germane), so I'd be interested in seeing where you get your statistics from.

Statistical analyses are generally based on samplings of time periods - people aren't followed for a lifetime.

Yes, I agree that there are people who cannot be helped and should be kept away from populations they might hurt again, but, again, I'd like to know on what you base the "many of these people" on. RSOL does provide figures; what are your assumptions based on? We're on the same page regarding the reform of the laws around statutory rape - those cases constitute a great number of the people affected by these ridiculous laws.

What we see today is something more insidious than the 1980s sex panics around so-called satanic abuse of children - a by-now widely disputed phenomenon which was egregiously reported as fact by the majority of the news media. We've fine-tuned the laws now so that they permeate every part of our lives, and make every one of us their likely targets. We might all want to consider the very real possibility that people we love and trust, and we ourselves, can become the object of these laws for no good reasons.

I find it interesting that tell Javier not to trust DoJ stats, but RSOL relies heavily upon them. Are they only credible when they prove your point?

"Statistical analyses are generally based on samplings of time periods - people aren't followed for a lifetime."

Actually the DoJ can, and it's fairly simple to do once you have your pool of people, just let the databases do the work for you. I would want to see the longer range recidivism rates, especially since in the three years after their release they are often on probation or parole and more tightly monitored.

My assumptions are based upon my experiences dealing with sex offenders in the legal and social services system.

Chuck,

And still you provide no statistics. No, stats aren't reliable only when they prove my point - but queers, of all people, ought to be wary of any arm of the state providing information that supports incarceration. RSOL is an organisation that's working to provide an alternative source of information - why dismiss them in favour of the statistics provided by a state machinery that has no interest in helping people, only assuming guilt and slamming them in jail?

We, of all people, should be suspicious of the state's intervention and manipulation of "sex offender" categories. Anyone remember or know of, for instance, Idaho? 1955? Anyone seen the film The Fall of '55? When an entire town (Boise) colluded to rid itself of scores of gay men, ruining their lives in the process of defining them - wrongly - as sexual predators? I really recommend it:

http://www.fallof55.com/

The film ought to dispel any notions we might have of the state and culture at large working for the preservation of justice when it comes to the explosive issue of sex, especially gay sex. And let's make no mistake - we can claim normalcy (and the punitive state apparatus of hate crimes) as much as we want, but the slightest slip on any of our parts, and these sex offender laws will - as they do - entrap gay men in a blink.

As for, "My assumptions are based upon my experiences dealing with sex offenders in the legal and social services system." Thanks for agreeing that they are indeed your assumptions, and not based on much else. It's unclear what your "experiences" are, and I'm not going to debate the issue with anyone who expects me to take their assumptions as verifiable, especially when their connection to sex offenders are not made clear.

Until you actually present some claims that these stats are manipulated (and apparently your favored RSOL feels comfortable using them) I don't need to provide alternatives. I simply pointed out the study timeframe was not long enough. The stats I questioned were the general recividism stats for which I have seen figures ranging anywhere from 35% to 74%.

I made a larger point about the issue and did so civilly. I should have known based on your past discussions on this blog that while you give lip service to civil discussion, you are only interested in those that agree with you.

I would certainly wager that I have more training and experience in dealing with sex offenders than you, but would hesitate to get in the middle of the sex offender apologist circle jerk you seem so keen on creating. While you can dismiss actual field work and experience as "assumptions" when they disagree with you, it does nothing to further the debate over this issue. Your knee jerk reactions are similar to what Alex warns against.

First, a personal swipe and then this lovely bit: "sex offender apologist circle jerk you seem so keen on creating."

And I'm the one not engaging in civil discourse.

Thanks, but I think I'll stick to engaging with others, even those who disagree, who can do so without their rhetoric exploding in quite this way.

I also encourage people to look at the comments below, especially by Rob Barton, about relying so completely on statistics.

These laws are consequences of hysteria and the way hysteria is exploited so that certain people get the twisted, unbalanced political results they desire.

One point unmentioned is the chilling effect they have on average people. If I'm in a public restroom alone and an unsupervised child comes in, I get the hell out of there ASAP. If the child is supervised, I pretend that both child and "father" are invisible. If the child were choking or profusely bleeding, and I might run for help, but I wouldn't touch him or speak to him.

Once while I was washing my hands, a little boy jumped up to sit on the lavatory ledge right next to me and started jabbering at me. I was horrified and immediately moved away, grabbed a paper towel, and dried my hands outside. I don't need "Daddy" walking in while Little Boy is sitting on the sink ledge next to me, and then Daddy accuses me of God-Knows-What.

If people want to stir up hysteria and pass ridiculous, draconian laws like this, then they might consider the extent to which they are also creating a world where adults don't feel safe helping a child in trouble --- other than calling the cops and letting them handle it.

acoolerclimate | October 7, 2009 10:32 PM

I've been watching all these sex-offender laws unfold over the years, and it seems like the country is making sexual contact more and more illegal until the only acceptable sex is between married people. The way we phrase sex as "abuse" seems so odd to me. Yes, it can very well be abuse. But I saw a story about a 17 year old girl who was asked by a 15 year old boy for a blow job. She gave it to him at school, got caught, and is now on the sex offender registry for life. There is no way on earth that that blow job was "abuse" and yet that is how our courts view it.

I see a clear distinction between someone who grabs someone else, does who knows what to them, physically hurts and possibly kills them, from two people who both consent to sex and just because one is 15 and the other 17 it becomes a horrible crime. I agree that teenagers don't understand the ramifications of sex at their age, but we completely ignore the fact that teens have a sex drive and sex does not feel like abuse with another consenting person.

As a gay man, I'm afraid to talk to anyone under about 25 nowadays. You never know what their real age is, and what you might be accused of. How are people ever going to have a healthy sex life, when so much sex is described as "abuse"?

Why is it acceptable for a person to commit murder because they did it out of passion. But if a person has a 'loving' relationship out of passion then he/she is a monster. Lust can consume and most sex offenders learn that the hard way. I am a sex offender and I tested myself against a Long Island Lolita type of 15 year old. She warned me that once I saw her that I wouldn't be able to resist her. Had I known that being with her would have cost me a 15 year sentence and over 15,000.00 in attorney fees, i certainly wouldn't have done it. If a female tells me she is over the age of consent but then tell the police that she is not, should I be considered a sexual criminal? I would rather live in a community full of sex offenders than to live in one full of drug dealers.

Amy Gibbons | October 8, 2009 12:15 AM

None of the comments mentioned the liars. Wives who have grudges against their ex or soon to be ex husbands, teens or their parents who want to get even with their neighbor or a sociopathic child who didn't get what they wanted and lied. I know that child who was a sociopath because he was my nephew and the offender was my husband. The law and the prosecutors always always assume the child no matter what age is telling the truth. Teens lie. Young children unless coached do not. I am all for the registry but big but here not for no risk and the Juliet and Romeo. Public Defenders work for the State's Attorney. The Prosecutors also do not allow for mental illness. The pendulum has swung much much too far. No my husband did not have a record for child molestation. We lost everything for a lie and the so called victim's record was not allowed and he had one and a conviction.

first, lets not blame victims for crimes commited.

"I am a sex offender and I tested myself against a Long Island Lolita type of 15 year old. She warned me that once I saw her that I wouldn't be able to resist her"

yasmin,
re the woodsman,here is a bit of info.
this film gives more insight into matters like these then is usually available.i don't think it "cures" him, however.

from an interview with kevin bacon re the film 'the woodsman'2004


"What do you think about the overall theme of the movie?
:"I feel like it is a kind of disease and a kind of addiction. I think that it is something that cannot be cured in the traditional sense. That’s part of Walter’s journey and his struggle that he thinks he’s done the crime and he’s done the time and it’s all behind him. I think what he realizes at the end of the movie is that this is something that he’s going to have to deal with every single day of his life, in the same way that an alcoholic is always going to be an alcoholic. He may not be drinking, but he’s still an alcoholic"


'The film was well-received critically, with Bacon's performance in particular drawing praise. It was nominated for the "Grand Jury Prize" award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, won the "Jury Special Prize" at the Deauville Film Festival, and was a featured film at the 2005 Traverse City Film Festival'

it's an art film or indie film, so it is more metaphysical then really literal, which is why it is more about ideas, then anything else.
(but so mature and well done).

http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/materials/10myths.php

um,this link is controversial,
there are people saying in various online places that it is "apologist".anyone who wants to know can google and wiki it.
(bye all.)

Javier,

Your use of source material is indiscriminate, to say the least. Unfortunately, it's also typical of the way web discussions go these days, especially on topics as sensitive as this.

At any rate, I trust people will look into the facts and figures presented on all sides and consider the larger questions raised in Alex's post including: At what point do we strive for justice and at what point do we scream for eternal damnation and vengeance? And can we actually consider punishment for crimes without being co-opted into a state that demands high levels of incarceration without any sense of proportionality?

sorry but,
not to lose sight of THIS side of the story,
this below. (statistic includes abused glbtq kids ALSO ,of course...)


"Suicide Risk Among Abused Children
By Rick Nauert PhD
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 4, 2008
New research suggests children who are repeatedly abused, or are abused by a member of their immediate family, are at higher risk of attempting suicide in later life.

Sexual abuse, and to a lesser extent, physical abuse in childhood have both been associated with suicidality..."


my cousin was abused at 9. she was a self cutter for years, til i photographed the cuts and said"next time you want to do this, look at these".
it worked, thank god.
she also has over 8 suicide attempts....

emotional issue, all around.
take care all.

"Suicidality"???? What a disgusting abuse of the English language

Suicidality is a real word, probably coined fairly recently by sociologists. It means (1) the likelihood that a person in a particular population will commit suicide; or (2) the statistical counting of a particular death as a suicide.

See wiktionary here

"Marietta?" (sigh) Welcome to my part of the world. Yeah, I saw this in the news.

Statistics are useless here OMO, they allow us to dehumanize the issue and can be used to 'support' any position. We are talking about people here, other humans who are in many cases doing something consensual in which no person is harmed or being coerced.
I feel that there should be a cut off age for the legal ability to consent right now in Mass in is 16. I also think that Romeo and Juliet laws are reasonable so that if the two are within two or
three years of one another in age it is legal.
I think that the law should address the use of violence, force or coercion.
Spain for instance as I understand has a reasonable age of consent and covers things with making coercion illegal.
I find the disparities between age laws to be troubling, one age to vote one age to drive one age to consent to sex yada yada yada. The idea that we are willing to give a 16 year old the ability to drive but in some states not the ability to decide what to do with his or her body is strange.
The overall problem here is that our culture is dealing with a sex negative view which pathologizes sex in many ways and a criminal management system which is constantly seeking to expand itself through increased criminalization of activities that are either simply not harmful or should be treated medically. We are also attempting to manage societal issues through the use of our courts and prisons.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 8, 2009 7:38 PM

Wow, I'm surprised at the relatively reasoned response to this post. Bravo!

Just curious, though: when I posted on Sept 28th, taking the position that charges of illegal sexual intercourse with a minor be dropped against Roman Polanski, why was I repeatedly accused of being a "rape apologist"? Not by you, Yasmin or Alex, but by pretty much everyone else who commented on my post. Did the two posts just have separate audiences (with the exception of Javier?)

Since Polanski's arrest in Switzerland, I have been absolutely appalled at how vitriolic and hysterical the response against him has been here in America, even among so-called "liberals." It’s no wonder he fled the country when it became apparent the judge in his case was not going to honor their plea agreement, especially considering his (parents’) personal experience with concentration camps in WWII Europe.

I have always opposed laws that criminalized sex-offenders by publicizing their addresses upon release from prison, even before the eye-opening experience of having person after person accuse me of rape apology. After that experience, I've concluded that Americans' approach to crime, sex, and punishment is irrational, self-indulgent, and lazy.

That’s why I’m surprised, Alex, that you don’t have people here screaming that we should give all sex offenders the needle.

Uh, because there's a big fucking difference between an 18 year old having consensual sex with a 16 year old and a man in his forties drugging 13 year old girl, and raping and sodomizing her?

But do you really want to threadjack this post?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 8, 2009 11:14 PM

Believe me, chuck, the last thing I want to do is threadjack this post. I only included the link to my post to respect convention.

You say, "there's a big fucking difference between an 18 year old having consensual sex with a 16 year old and a man in his forties drugging 13 year old girl, and raping and sodomizing her." First, Polanski admitted in a plea bargain to an entirely different legal offense. Or, as the UK's Guardian has posted on every comment thread to Polanski stories, "Some commenters have simply used the term "rape" in relation to Roman Polanski's 1977 conviction. The offence he pleaded guilty to is often described as "statutory rape" but more precisely as "unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor".

Second, interesting that you use the word "sodomy" on an LGBT site. Most sodomy laws throughout the world are selectively enforced on sex between men, regardless of their respective ages. According to Wikipedia, "Consensual homosexual acts between adults are illegal in about 70 out of the 195 countries of the world; in 40 of these, only male-male sex is outlawed." In the United States, anti-homosexual laws remain on the books in 15 states, although the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision rendered them ineffectual in 2003. That's six years ago, btw. And, as Wikipedia points out (at the same link), it remains unclear whether or how sodomy laws that apply to both homosexual and heterosexual sex are affected by Lawrence.

Finally, need I remind you that sex between two men remains grounds for legally being thrown out of the military, no matter how sterling or long your service record?!

I'm sorry, but the fact that you think there's legally that much difference between your two, misstated examples only supports my point that Americans' approach to crime, sex, and punishment is irrational, self-indulgent, and lazy.

Brynn,

I suspect this issue is closer to queers, especially gay men who have been or understand the ways in which they might be all too quickly branded as rapists/sex offenders. And straights and feminists aren't interested in an issue that might seem too gay (although, a significant number of people affected by the laws are not gay, I believe).

The Polanski case has been foremost in my mind in relation to sex offender laws - there's a complicated history of rape and sex crime laws in the U.S. I think the larger history of sex offender laws, and the way they have transmutated over the years should give queers pause. But the Polanski case has been portrayed as a woman's issue, and a lot of the responses to that, including your post, have been stressing the impact on women. It's a pity we can't all step back and connect the dots here - the definitions of sexual assault and consent and a whole host of murky issues are all related. But then feminists and gays long ago stopped talking, it seems.

Which is to say - I think that if this post appeared on a discernibly "straight" blog, you'd see plenty of calls for the needle.

I'm willing to test that theory. I'll cross-post this onto Daily Kos and Open Salon when I get home this afternoon. They're plenty straight on those sites.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 8, 2009 11:49 PM

Yasmin, as usual you state it well: this issue is closer to queers, especially gay men who have been or understand the ways in which they might be all too quickly branded as rapists/sex offenders. I know you get it.

One thing I've been wondering is, what about those gay men who were convicted of sodomy before Lawrence and had to register as sex offenders. Are their names now taken off the registers?

Another thing: men convicted of soliciting sex in a public place. As far as I know, they remain on the sex offenders registers.

And I didn't research it, but I believe that consent laws vary hugely and remain different in several states and many counries throughout the world for gay and straight sex.

Finally, I'm sure you noticed that in my rant, I've focused entirely on sex between men. That's because sex between women is universally treated differently than sex between men: everything from totally ignored and its existence denied, to eroticized.

While I do believe the Polanski case raises a lot of complicated, painful, arguable issues, and I do think there are thoughtful people with reasoned and researched opinions who are calling for his extradition, for the vast part, the same anti-sex mentality behind the screams for Polanski's head also fuel the laws criminalizing gay sex.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | October 9, 2009 10:51 AM

His crime is the flight from the United States.

Keith Ricahrd Radford Jr | December 9, 2009 11:08 AM

Sex laws have been built on misconceptions and myth.

The Supreme Court just ruled on sex offender laws where some factions of our government think by some inert reasoning that sex offender should be quarantined or executed. Video taken in another country shows where sex offenders were placed on a pole much like the Catholics use to use a pyramid shaped object and have them sit on it and spin, the pole travels through the body looking for the throat but if not found its ok because the sharpened end of the pole will come out somewhere to the delight of these very strange people who think such thoughts are a bit barbaric. The heritage of the act is in its self a brutal throwback to violent uneducated people who are so obsessed with any sex & the only way to deal with this kind of "hierarchy" of historic hysteria. A word taken from hysterectomy, hysteria is tied to castration, we are supposed to be the most advanced nation and we still have a death penalty when the rest of the world except for some nations we are still warring with/selling weapons too, while other nations went home our weapons dealers and torture lovers delighting in support for the death of people they don’t know or want to simply because they don’t know how to get money with out taking it from someone by force. Is that supposed to include mutilations? In my humble opinion this alone “is” terrorist activities as much as severed hands, ears, heads, or making a case with nothing more than an obsession justified by lies. The registry’s origin in the Jim Crow hang~um laws that brought disgrace to our nation allowing thieves and murderous societal bigots who have trashed any shot at making good of a program in its design to make money destroying our nation and its people. We can not survive using this behavior model because we are compounding the problem since the numbers are increasing to include the children they purport to protect.

The doctoring, castration/hysterectomy/health care/physic care of people through sex laws that have damaged everyone it has touched. What about the people who are being used by the Medicare programs that requires these mutilations for both men and woman after they take their means of support? Digging around in someone’s genitalia because you want what a weaker nation? Can't you see? You have created the model and it is worthless! Why don't we just indiscriminately kill people we don't know? That is statically the next sex offender, because over 90% of all new offences are committed by someone “not” on the sex offender registry and the numbers are increasing not decreasing so as a behavior model this is really worthless.

So what is the use of such laws as the sex offender registry other than to terrorize people? With the murder of so many sex offenders and the continued disregard for life by the use of the registry it will be no time at all before the federal government will be held liable for their deaths through federal court. There are ridiculous laws built for people unaware of what they do because of these misconceptions and fear creating an environment of mistrust where life has no meaning for both side of an issue that is made important by the same people who enjoy watching/participating in the torture/suffering of both sides for what touching someone? Who is really the terrorist since these laws connect?

Any act is debatable; astoundingly this has been allowed to go on this long. The disgust come from prejudice not even being able to discuss the issue by ones own internal wiring like a maze of mixed nerve ending unable to function, the mind shuts down unable to have empathy for the situation like any rational issue. We don’t even have laws that make since or definitions that work within those laws. We still want people to say they are mentally ill for having sex. Sex can not be the end of life

We don’t even have laws that make since or definitions that work within those laws. We still want people to say they are mentally ill for having sex. Sex can not be the end of life well addressed. The paradigm is better heard through the conflict of religions where people acutely kill one another over sex, but the message is the same. We have painted opinion with blood for far too long when the money is spent on punishment to the delight of the enforcers while the enforcers are exempt from their own laws which have no definition anymore. We still want people to say they are mentally ill for having sex, or not, when the inclination is to bow to authority sex sometimes becomes rape. I once had a woman ask if I was propositioning her by throwing pennies at her when I just wanted her to go away.

till we see some its like headaches/backaches too someone who has never had one, and once you have you start thinking allot about what really matters in life and how so many can spend their lives fighting amongst themselves over things that really don’t amount to a hill of frijoles. Best regard to all.

My name is Fima Estrin. I am state contact for RSOL in Minnesota.(
Reform s..x offender laws )

http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/index.php

Here is my blog

http://estrinyefim.newsvine.com

I came to US from former USSR 13 years ago with Jewish refugee status.
My parents are Holocaust survivors. In USA I was convicted for porn
possession and placed on s..x offender register.
here are some comparissions

http://estrinyefim.newsvine.com/_news/2009/12/17/3647883-sex-offenders-registry-some-comparissions-

I would like to bring to your attention problem with s..x offenders
register in USA
Human Rights Watch published this report 'No easy answers' showing
grave violations of human rights and huge sex hysteria in USA

http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2007/09/11/no-easy-answers

I would like to get answer from you, and your opinion.
First country in the world established s..x offender register was Nazi Germany.
S..x offender registry laws are mostly copied from Nazi Germany.

I look forward to hear from you soon