Author: admin

Letter: Sex Offender Laws Ignore Future Victims

Hopefully you have seen some of the comments that were posted beneath the letter to the editor entitled “Sex Offender Awareness Needs to Improve” by Suzanne Arena. I am one of the commenters and felt compelled to write a letter in the hopes that it will be published and receive the same consideration and attention that Ms. Arena brought to the issue.

Ms. Arena is right about one thing: awareness is important. Sexual assault of children and adults is absolutely something that not just Cranston, but the entire country needs to manage better. It’s clear by the steady yearly increase of registered sex offenders – nearing 750,000 at the end of 2011 – that despite constant, stricter sex crime legislation, sex crimes continue at the same rate. We need to re-examine our approach.

Sex crime isn’t prevented by talking about how bad it is, putting up posters of convicted offenders, or ensuring lifelong punishment for registrants. Sex crime is prevented by becoming aware of the facts. A US Department of Justice Study cites that 93-97% of children under 17 know their abuser (the younger the child, the higher the likelihood). 73% of victims 18 and over know their attacker. Another US Department of Justice Study puts recidivism rates of convicted sex offenders between 3.5 to 8.5%, and these numbers are confirmed by many additional state and independent studies.

By focusing all of our resources, efforts, and attention on registered offenders, we are ignoring the overwhelming majority of current and future victims. Community notification and posters only work if that individual is going to re-offend, and statistics from many different sources say that’s extremely unlikely. Community notification and posters, along with every single sex crime law that exists in this country, singularly target the group of people who are probably the least likely to commit a new sex crime. Those who have never been reported or caught carry on with their lives, untouched and unscathed by any of the laws created to keep predators at bay. How will printing flyers and posters help the child being abused by the beloved baseball coach, youth minister or favorite uncle who looks and acts just like everyone else, never accused of a crime in their life? Or the woman whose successful, sociable ex-husband who has learned to hide his rage issue seeks revenge by raping her? NOTHING. Sexual assault of any kind, on any human is horrifying and elicits many strong emotions. That is precisely the reason we must be careful to separate emotions from effectiveness.

Lastly, it is a flat-out insult to victims of any kind of traumatic experience to insinuate that they are left with a “life sentence”. Just like victims of a bad car accident or natural disaster – who aren’t at fault in any way for their experiences – recovery should not and is not dependent upon punishment of someone else. Recovery is something that depends solely on the victim’s desire to become a survivor and allow themselves to be empowered by what they have been through. Holding on to anger and the need for revenge forever is a “life sentence”. There is a line between being supportive and passionate about healthy recovery for victims, and keeping them in a constant state of powerlessness.

If you want to help prevent sex crimes, learn.

– Shana Rowan


Mandated Reporting – A Failed Policy in Reducing Sexual Offending

It is a fact that 93% of all sexual abuse occurs within the home, and are committed by family members, close family friends, or someone known to the victim. This fact comes from the United States Department of Justice. Why do we then, and how can we as a society, go along with this “choice” to ignore the 93% of all sexual abuse? Simply put, because we are told to.

Law enforcement, politicians, and our media will tell you that sexual crimes are very much underreported. They should know, for they are the ones who are allowing this to happen and exploiting it for their political and financial gain. Let’s examine why and how this is happening. This article examines mandating reporting, the biggest roadblock to reducing sexual offending and the goal of “No More Victims.”

We are told that mandated reporting laws are designed to catch child abuse in its earliest stages, so that a child does not suffer long-term damage, however these laws fall far short of this goal. Sexual abuse discovered and treated within families seeking help, could save so many more of our nation’s children and their families. Wouldn’t this greatly aid in achieving the goal of “No More Victims” or at least the goal of Far Fewer Victims?

Tragedy in Indiana

“9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon, was brutally killed by 39-year-old Michael Plumadore”

Another tragic story of the death of a child. I didn’t take long however for the media to start a fervor over sex offenders. They pointed out that 15 registered sex offenders lived in that very same trailer park. However the media did not tell us why they even brought that up.

Not one of the fifteen has been charged with any crime related to that little girl. The man responsible was not on the registry. The crime would seem to be murder and not a sex offence.

However since the media brought up the sex offender issue, let’s look at that for a moment.

The Sex Offender Registry, the crown jewel of child safety. How did it do in protecting this small child?

1. Did it make the mother aware that the murder was a danger to her child? NO
2. Did it give the location where the murder lived? NO
3. Did it give the location where the murder worked? NO

4. Did it list the murder’s face on an internet website so the mother could make sure to keep him away from her child? NO
5. Did it aide in the investigation, hastening the case being solved? NO. Law Enforcement wasted countless hours and valuable recourses chasing down Registrants while the real murder walked around watching Law Enforcement chase the wrong people.
Did the registry give the mother a false sense of security? It seems it did. She was concerned about the RSO’s in the trailer park. She did what she thought was necessary to protect her children. She asked about some of the RSO’s and they were on her mind. The registery did however distract her from the real danger, Michael Plumadore. He was not on the registry, he had credibility. As one of the few men in the trailer park not on the registry he seemed to be the safest choice when the mother needed help.

Some of the media responses to this tragedy point to the cluster of sex offenders. The interesting part about this is that the cluster is state sanctioned because a paranoid public has demanded laws restricting these offenders from certain locations. In some states and cities the living options are severally limited. The media is greatly to blame for sex offender clusters. They pander to proponents that say there is a need to push registered offended away from populated areas. The media however does not report findings from studies that show that residency restrictions are ineffective, costly and counterproductive.

All that residency restrictions do is to give the public a false sense of security. We must ask ourselves, if we force these people to cluster, if we then list their location online, are we not inviting people like Michael Plumadore to take advantage of that situation? After all, a man like Michael Plumadore would see a cluster as a safe place to carry out his crime with less fear of being caught.

Also law enforcement would be concentrating on known offenders in the area and not looking for the real offender.

These are just some thoughts. We need to start a national debate about the all too real dangers of the Sex Offender Registry. How many live may be lost due to having a list such as this, online, for all to see? A list than can easily be used by unscrupulous people in caring out heinous crimes against children.

The headline should read, Sex Offender Registry fails to protect a child, AGAIN!