Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Insanity Of Sex Offender Registries.

The idea seemed simple enough: establish public sex offender registries so that if you happen to live close to someone who molests children, who know where they live. The idea was to give the community power over sexual predators, so that they would be less inclined to commit similar crimes in the future.

Yet, one thing that wasn’t addressed, that while sexual predators are indeed a problem, state laws that define sexual crimes are often ridiculous, if not absurd. Further, it tends to treat a complicated set of circumstances narrowly.

For instance: I came across this story recently.
Man sentenced for sleeping with wife when she was 15

A 23-year-old Barnesville, Minn., man was ordered to register as a sex offender but spared jail time for having sex with his 17-year-old wife when she was 15.

David Anthony Cox began the relationship before the two were married. He was 20 at the time.

Clay County District Court Judge Michael Kirk gave Cox an 18-month stay of imposition of sentence and ordered him to pay $582 in fines and court fees for the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.

Minnesota law prohibits sexual relationships between someone older than 13 but younger than 16 with someone more than 24 months older, regardless of consent.

Under the sentence, Cox will be on supervised probation for up to 15 years and will be required to serve the 18-month sentence if that probation is broken.

It is utterly ridiculous that anyone should have to deal with the indignity of being processed through the legal system, and having his register as a sex offender for having sex with someone they are in a relationship with. Further, this guy will also have to deal with the fact that he must now, and for the rest of his life seek a job as a sex offender for sleeping with his wife.

Perhaps, such insanity can be discarded, simply because the system doesn’t work correctly 100% of the time. However, consider this:
Murders Put Focus on Sex-Offender Registry Policies

Nobody knows why Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life.

One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he'd slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.

These deaths and others raise troubling questions about the public sex-offender registries which every state has. And they highlight the fact that many states list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose little risk to the community.

When Mark Perk read about the men murdered in Maine, he thought the same fate might have befallen him. “They put my name and address on there,” Perk says. “Anyone can find me. Yeah, it scared us.”

Perk is on Illinois’ sex-offender registry for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. She’s now his wife and the mother of their two children. Perk says he knows he broke the law -- but he says he’s no child molester. He’s just treated like one.

And thus, we have a problem. Not only are certain people being singled out for having a consenting sexual relationship, but they are violating peoples’ rights of privacy. If someone is a sexual predator, and is indeed a danger to the community, then remove them from the community. If they are not, then leave them the hell alone.

A great deal of the problem is that state laws governing sexual practices were written decades, sometimes centuries ago. To give my readers how some of the laws read in my home state of Virginia, check this out:

Under Virginia state law, § 18.2-63,
If any person carnally knows, without the use of force, a child thirteen years of age or older but under fifteen years of age, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.
However, under Virginia state law § 18.2-67.5:
An attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery shall be a felony punishable as a Class 6 felony.
An attempt to commit sexual battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Yes, folks. Attempted sexual battery, even if it’s aggravated, is not quite as bad as having consensual sex with someone a day younger than 3 years your junior if you happen to be 18. This gets better.

Virginia state law § 18.2-361 is known as the “Crimes against nature” clause. What counts as such a horrific crime to be labeled “against nature”?
If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal…he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
Okay, you got me there. Fucking chickens, sheep, and cows is fucking gross. And yeh, I suppose you could call that unnatural. Just don’t tell anti-abortionist nutcase Neal Horsley that. But that same Virginia state statute continues:
[If any person] carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony…
In short, in the eyes of the law in the state of Virginia, it is just as bad for you to have your wife give you a blow job then it is for you to fuck Mr. Ed. And it is equally as bad for your wife to give you a blow job than it is for you to try to commit aggravated sexual battery.

But here is the kicker: Under Virginia state law § 18.2-346
Any person who offers money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts…and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof shall be guilty of solicitation of prostitution and shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
So lets review: fucking a minor who’s a day younger than 15 when it’s completely consensual, Class 4 felony bad. Aggravated sexual battery, Class 6 felony bad. Fucking your neighbor’s cow, also Class 6 felony bad. Fucking your wife in her ass, your wife giving you a blowjob, or you dining at her Y, all Class 6 felony bad. Soliciting a ho, Class 1 misdemeanor.

Oh, and as for the Virginia sex offender registry, yes, there are people up there for committing “crimes against nature”. There is no indication of what specific crime against nature that was violated, but I would bet there’s at least one guy up there who was getting head from his girl when a cop came tapping at the window.


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