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The Sex Offenders Register – Public Protection Or Stigmatisation?

On Friday, the tabloid press in the UK had a field day reporting that most convicted sex offenders who had applied to be removed from the official register had been successful. The headline in the on-line “Sun” was “Fury as three quarters of pervs who apply to be taken off the Sex Offenders Register are allowed by police”.

One is entitled to ask fury by whom? The UK register was brought in with the “Sexual Offences Act 2003”. It came about as a result of Megan’s Law in the United States and more specifically the domestic murder of Sarah Payne.

The seven year old Megan Kanka was murdered July 29, 1994; the act named after her was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton on May 17, 1996. The eight year old Sarah Payne (pictured above) was kidnapped July 1, 2000; her body was found later that month. It has often been said that hard cases make bad law, and the registration of sex offenders is an extreme example of that. Is it fair to treat a man whose crime may be a drunken fumble in a bar after misreading the signals as no better than a child murderer and rapist? Some seem to think so. In the United States, people have been registered as sex offenders for urinating in public.

In the UK, the “socially awkward” teenager Jamie Griffiths found himself registered as a sex offender for touching a girl’s hip. At one time a girl would have slapped his face for this, but in the #MeToo era, she burst into tears, and Griffiths ended up in court where instead of opting for a Crown Court trial he foolishly or ill-advisedly faced a bench of magistrates. This has as good as trashed his career before he leaves college.

Of course, it is only right that some people are monitored, and kept away from the young, but when a man has paid his debt to society, that should be the end of the matter. Former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, yet he is still in demand as an occasional TV pundit. Is there one rule for celebrities and another for the great unwashed, or do we need to reconsider the entire business of stigmatising people for perhaps one bad, or even a trivial act?

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Joel WalbertTheDarkManf.h.fokkemaOlivia KrothTheDarkMan Recent comment authors
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Olivia Kroth
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An interesting text! I think the register is both: protection for the children and stigmatization of the culprits, and necessary, too. Rapists of children should not be allowed to stay anonymous, they must be exposed and publicly punished.

Joe
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Joe

Agree with you fully.

Joe
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Joe

What you say has merit, but I wonder if you have a bigger agenda behind all this? Campaigns for small “concerned” changes in the laws are a trick of pressure groups to open a wedge in public perception of certain offences and drive in a wedge in which there will then be agitation for more and more changes. This is how the “Progressive” lobby works.

oldandjaded
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“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”
Benjamin Franklin

f.h.fokkema
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f.h.fokkema

Joe, this is ultimately correct in what you are saying. It is very important to read what “thedarkman””is NOT saying . After a plea for not knowing sex offenders after doing time and showing the almost ridiculous example of the young man touching a girls hip, the question arises:Why this? What about moslims raping women and preferably young girls after there example mohammed? Known cases are bountiful Why not treat those according to the laws of Mozes they are abiding to , i.e. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? It touches my heart to notice someone… Read more »

Joel Walbert
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Joel Walbert

Technically the registry is blatantly un-Constitutional. Once time is served, that is all anybody should have to do. That said, if someone is such a threat to require being registered (or not be allowed own the tools of self-defense, vote or serve on a jury, among other un-Constitutional restrictions on those who served out a sentence), that person should never be released.

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