Sex offender laws broken
Re: “Sex offender sues city over policies — Family says restrictions forced it to stay for 2 years in motel room,” Saturday news story.
States have sponsored studies that conclusively show residency restriction laws are ineffective, except for the harm they cause. The citizen quoted in the story, Keith Long, seems not to understand that a loving father will fight to protect his children from the effects of unjust, capricious laws regardless of what he may have done in the past. That’s what good fathers do. I’ll bet Long would do the same.
Most men on the sex offense registry treasure all the anonymity they can keep. That’s why the courage of the Duarte family is so impressive. They are willing to stand up for themselves and thousands of other families to tell us that just because we label a person “sex offender” doesn’t make it right to gratuitously mistreat him and his children.
Offenders have rights
A man required to register as a sex offender is suing the city of Lewisville over an unconstitutional residency restriction, which violates due process, equal protection under the law, ex post facto, and double jeopardy. Hopefully, this case will educate many Texans regarding the sex offender issue.
This particular registrant was convicted of soliciting a minor online. Most people think that means that he tried to lure a small child for sex. Unlikely.
In fact, most on the state registry (now almost 70,000 and growing more than 100 each week) never touched a little kid or forced anyone. In a June 2010 Texas senate hearing, Sen. Keith Whitmire asked the DPS representative how many registrants are actually dangerous. After calling his office for the answer, he stated a figure representing less than 13 percent. Consequently, limited resources are spent policing, monitoring, and harassing those who pose no risk, while the truly dangerous few hide in the crowd.
If the constitution still means something in Texas, Lewisville will lose this case. Furthermore, if Texans are paying attention, they will demand that the laws change to focus on the real dangers to children.