Wednesday, November 14, 2012

sex offenders are not all alike

Annie's Mailbox published a letter about sex offenders that illustrates the problem with using an all-purpose label such as "sex offender." 

Dear Annie: Dan Peek from Grandparents and Others on Watch, Inc. was right on target in advising "Older Sister" to contact authorities about her brother, the sex offender. 
We live in a tight community. One woman was having sleepovers at her home while her father, a registered child sex offender, was living with her. She was unwilling to recognize the risk, so we contacted all the parents of the children. We could not endure knowing that she was supplying him with potential victims. — Serious in the South About Protecting Kids
The daughter of a sex offender was "unwilling to recognize the risk" so someone took it upon herself to contact parents around town, alerting them to the danger of this sex offender. The worry was that the sex offender would do something to someone attending sleepovers at the house.

The letter makes no mention--as if it doesn't mattter!--what the man's offense was. Why was he on the registry? What did he do? It isn't enough to call him a "child sex offender."  All sex offenders are not alike. Some might be dangerous, the vast majority are not. 

It is also helpful to remember that 90% sex crimes are committed by a first-time offender, so while keeping an eye on this woman's father, are you also keeping an eye on everyone who has not been arrested yet?

Instead of being a busybody and spreading gossip, get the facts.