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Interviews with four convicted sexual predators -- Part One

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The Decision

In all my years in child protection work, I never once had the opportunity to question or even speak to a perpetrator. My job was to connect with the victim, to gain trust, to listen, to report, to protect, and by the time I’d succeeded at that, my feelings for the offender were such – well let’s just say I wouldn’t have been pleasant.

Some years have passed since that chapter of my life, and I decided the time had come to look at the problem from the other side, from the offenders’ side. I had a long list of questions overdue for answers.

To do that, I had to meet some and that is what led me to contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to request their assistance. (I certainly wasn't about to go out by myself and knock on the door of any one of these all too easy to find individuals.)

I had some explicit criteria:

  • I wanted to speak with someone whose crime involved a child -- three categories in Florida: A) over the age of twelve and younger than sixteen, or B) under the age of twelve and C) 16 or 17 if the other party is more then four years older.
  • I wanted to speak with someone categorized as a sexual predator, thus avoiding the excuses of 'I was only taking a leak,' or 'I was only eighteen and my girlfriend fifteen' or 'it was an accident and I only brushed up against her breast.'

I explained my purpose, and was transferred to a Community Relations officer -- who did his best to dissuade me, but eventually arranged a contact with the Florida Department of Corrections.

A week later, I was to meet with a probation officer at the Sheriff's office, and he would arrange for me to interview his hand-picked candidates.

In the meantime, I did some research so I'd be as informed as possible and prepared.

As the days went by, my sleep grew increasingly interrupted as long stifled memories haunted me. Once again my nights were populated with a parade of child victims from the past. I heard their whispered confidences, dried their tears and taught them how to speak of the unspeakable.

I wondered if I would be able to do this.

  • Sarasota Sheriff
    A link to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and their brand-new website.

Please keep in mind

Some of my readers may remember an article called: How I became a sex offender – by the anonymous Mr. Bebop and edited by me – later unpublished at Mr. Bebop’s request. Here we explored what appeared to be an abuse by law enforcement, and an unfair branding of an individual as a sex offender.

In another of my articles Incarceration, castration or execution -- attempts to control the dangerous, violent sex offender we learned law enforcement complains the sex offender’s registry is so cluttered by non-dangerous, non-offenders (those guilty of public exposure, for example or those entrapped in sting operations, or young men involved with a woman just under the age of consent) that it actually impedes efforts to supervise and control true dangerous offenders. Please keep these facts in mind while reading the background information.

Background Research

Nationally, there are 716,750 registered sex offenders in the United States (including protectorates) or, 232 sex offenders per 100,000 people.

I live in Florida, as do 54,166 registered sex offenders or 295 per 100,000 people – not the highest ratio in the country. That dubious honor goes to Delaware at 477/100,000 followed closely by Michigan at 460/100,000. Oregon is the third runner-up at 443/100,000.

Though whether this suggests more offenders, or more vigorous law-enforcement -- who can say?

Look at the map below for the entire picture.

Surprisingly, the two states most often in the news regarding atrocious sexual crimes, California and Florida, don’t rank in the top six:

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  • California is seventh in the nation with a ratio of 329/100,000.
  • Florida is tenth (295.)

Here in Sarasota County

This article will deal with the situation in Florida, but not the entire state, only the county I live in, Sarasota county. Why? For some reason, maps for the entire state giving the same kind of breakdown as the one above but by county, apparently do not exist, nor even city by city, but only by neighborhood.

So, I spent several hours on the various county sites, comparing 500 neighborhoods and compiling stats for each major city in my county. I make no claim these statistics are accurate, as such an exercise calls for some creative extrapolation.However, I compared my numbers with those of a website called 'City Data' (link to the side) and found my numbers differed with theirs by less than ten in any given city.

  • North Port (vilified as a dangerous town after the rape/murder of Denise Amber Lee): population 50,523; number of sex offenders 78 or 1/648 people.
  • Venice: population 20,770; number of sex offenders 37 or 1/561
  • Bradenton: population 53,662; number of sex offenders 174 or 1/308 people
  • Sarasota: population 52,942; number of sex offenders 284 or 1/186 people.

As much out of curiosity as research, I used the Florida Department of Correction's Sex Offender search site and did an inquiry into the five mile radius around my North Port home.

Here is the surprising, nay -- shocking result:


What is the difference between a predator and an offender?

Per Florida Statute 775.21, there are several criteria that must be met in order for an individual to be designated for registration as a sexual predator. These include:

1) A conviction for a qualifying and Capital, Life, or First degree felony sex offense committed on or after 10/1/1993; or

2) A conviction for any felony violation or attempt thereof for a qualifying offense committed after 10/1/1993 in addition to a prior conviction for any felony violation or attempt thereof for a qualifying offense.


3) A written court finding designating the individual a sexual predator.

Now, keep in mind I live on the southernmost tip of Sarasota County, so this radius encompasses a good chunk of Port Charlotte (population 51,345, number of sex offenders 100 or 1/513) in Charlotte county, but even so, it appears that at least 30 of North Port's 78 sex offenders, and 30 of Port Charlotte's 100, including 5 designated sexual predators (the red flags) live within five miles of my home.

And they seemed to be all clumped together -- are these 'bad' neighborhoods? I thought mine a very safe, quiet and peaceful place. What gives? Is this common to all cities?

It is.

I did the same exercise in various other cities using addresses selected at random from MapQuest, and these flags always pop up in in groups. No, it's not the 'birds of a feather' maxim, but something a little more insidious.

A photo from the contentious Time magazine article about sex offenders forced to live under this bridge due to a "frenzied rash" of "draconian legislation" in "a heated emotional response to the rape and murder of Jessica Lumford."

A photo from the contentious Time magazine article about sex offenders forced to live under this bridge due to a "frenzied rash" of "draconian legislation" in "a heated emotional response to the rape and murder of Jessica Lumford."

"Clustering" -- so many offenders, so few neighborhoods

Clustering – what is this?

Find a map of your city. Now, put a red X over every school, daycare center, playground, park, school bus stop, or ‘any place where children are commonly found’ such as libraries and churches. Take out a compass – you know that thing in your old geometry set – and draw a circle around each one of these facilities, equivalent in scale to 1,000 feet. What happens to your city map?

Each small circle represents only a small area, but what of the cumulative and aggregate effect? Chances are your circles overlap until whole neighborhoods are covered, leaving only small sections of the map not within a circle.

This is the challenge facing a registered sex offender who is looking for housing.

Many states have initiated residency restrictions. In Florida, the relevant legislation (F.S. 794.065) makes it unlawful for a person convicted on or after October 1, 2004, (the effective date of the law) of a specified sexual battery or lewd or lascivious offense against a victim under the age of 16 from living with a 1,000 foot perimeter of any of the above mentioned facilities.

In a city such as North Port, with huge tracts of undeveloped land (North Port is Florida’s third largest city in land mass, with a population of only 50,000 and many residential areas resemble campgrounds surrounded by forest – like mine: wonderful!) it is not so difficult to find an area which meets all of these restrictions. We see the ‘clustering’ effect, a concentration of sex offenders living in these acceptable neighborhoods.

What happens to these areas once a dense population of sex offenders moves in? People seeking a new home often check the offender registry and spurn those neighborhoods, particularly if they have children. The area becomes ‘red-lined;’ real estate values go down increasing the pressure on already challenged home owners. The result is an emerging race-to-the bottom pattern where communities attempt to prevent offenders from flocking to their exclusion-zone free neighborhoods.

In other cities, the circles may so overlap there is literally nowhere for offenders to reside within the confines of the law.

Unstable housing arrangements increase the problems of law-enforcement supervision of the offenders, and according to some authorities, the added stress may increase the rate of recidivism.


Other restrictions

Other legislation is intended to create 'child safety zones', with supporters noting that "it’s equally if not more important to address where sex offenders go during the day than to limit where they sleep."

Restrictions for a person convicted of an offense listed in the sexual offender statute where the victim was under the age of 18 by making it a first degree misdemeanor to:

  • Commit loitering or prowling within 300 feet of a place where children are congregating
  • Knowingly approach, contact or communicate with a child under 18 years of age in any public park or playground with intent to engage in conduct of a sexual nature, or to make a communication of any type containing any content of a sexual nature.
  • Knowingly be present in any child care facility or pre-K-12 school when the child care facility or school is in operation unless the offender has provided written notification of his or her intent to be present to the school board, superintendent, principal or child care facility owner:

The bill also prohibits offenders on supervision for sexual offenses from:

  • Visiting schools, child care facilities, parks and playgrounds without prior approval of the offender’s supervising officer.
  • Distributing candy or other items to children on Halloween, wearing a Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or clown costume, or entertaining at children’s parties without prior approval.
Apparently everyone is in the business of putting these names and faces in the public eye -- is this effective in protecting our children? Experts say "No!"

Apparently everyone is in the business of putting these names and faces in the public eye -- is this effective in protecting our children? Experts say "No!"

Difficulties living under the Sex Offenders’ Registry

Here are some questions I posted under various names -- and sorry about the deceit guys  -- to an on-line support group of RSOs (registered sex offenders) and the responses received:

What jobs can a sex offender have?

"Nearly none. Even McDonald's does criminal back ground checks. Sex offenders can work in construction or other seasonal jobs that pay little to nothing. Most states and communities theirin, restrict sex offenders from having normal stable lives."

What jobs are available to registered sex offenders?

"There are no jobs for sex offenders. Start your own Business and you do not have to divulge your client list to any agency. Your clients have a reasonable right to privacy and corporate America would not want to have to disclose to the government their client information. The client’s right to privacy has already been fought right up to the supreme court of your state. The lobbyists are on your side on this one."

I’m a sex offender and how can I get a job?

"If you're a sex offender looking for a job, ask yourself what the charge was and what your skills are, then look for a job that fits your skills and that won't conflict with your crime. (i.e. child molesters can't work in a place that gets children.) And good luck …. Maybe pigs can fly."

I’ve been ordered to register -- I am 21 and I met a girl who said she was 19 (she turned out to be 15); how will this affect my life?

"Registering is the kiss of death. No one will hire RSO. Almost all employers now do back ground checks for the most minor jobs -- even temp agencies screen all their applicants. With instant access to RSO web pages, NO employer is going to take a chance on any RS0 -- not with their picture and home address plastered for all to see.

Now with the limits on where you live it’s even harder still.

The laws regarding level offenses in many states lump them all together so the streaker is the same as the kiddie rapist.

Dates of crimes have no meaning when you have 25 years minimum registration.

There is absolutely NO trust -- and society wonders why so many RSO go underground -- the system has made RSO’s targets, no matter what the actual crime. You can look forward to people splashing paint on your house; handing out flyers about you in your neighborhood; threatening you; beating you up; even killing you – all for the sake of a label. And if you’re like most of us, you’ve never hurt anyone; guilty of nothing worse than poor judgment.

Those that truly are dangerous are treated just the same as you, no worse, no better and in the eyes of the ignorant public you are exactly the same as some bastard who rapes a baby – so learn to live with it."

Of the sixty eight sex offenders within a 5 mile radius of my house -- what did they do?

Yes, I spent an entire afternoon checking out all those blue flags on the map of the area around my house -- and here's what I found:

  • Four were convicted rape or aggravated sexual assault with an adult victim.
  • Three were convicted with sexual battery on persons with a mental defect.
  • Three were convicted with possession of child-porn.
  • Two were convicted of sexual assault with kidnapping and false imprisonment.
  • 90% of the offenders found in my area are convicted with crimes relating to minors:
  • sexual crimes involving children 12 to 15 (23 convicted under this)
  • sexual crimes involving children under 12 (6 fell in this category)
  • sexual crimes involving children 16 and 17 if the offender is over four years older. (nine offenders charged with this.)
  • sexual crimes involving children under 18 if the offender is in a custodial or familial position relative to the child. (8 local offenders here)

Then there were assorted circumstances: using threats or coercion, a weapon, injury likely or not likely, using the internet as a means to entice a minor, traveling to meet a minor and enticing a minor to a sexual performance.

Out of the 68 blue flags, 6 were women all charged with having sex with a minor 16 or 17 (while they were older by more than four years.) 12 were from out of state, and I did not go those state registries to get the details. Eight had three or more charges and were still on the street and not classified as predators.

Interestingly, the largest population demographic represented by this small sample of offenders is male, white and age 50 plus.

Overall, out of my 68 local offenders, most had been convicted of the following:


Section 800.04 -- Just about anything

What do a 19-year-old boy having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, a streaker, and a drunk, naked frat boy rolling around on the front lawn of his fraternity house shouting "Go Panthers" have in common?

According to Florida law, potentially they are all "sex offenders." Once arrested and found guilty, they are branded for life. But,if anybody under the age of 16 is a party or a witness, this is the section of Florida law under which they will be convicted, and then you are not just a sex offender but an offender against minors -- okay, that's pushing the limits, but the possibility is there.

Possibilities -- (not probabilities)

If you stop out in the open to take a pee, and the police can ascertain a minor saw you, if you have too much to drink and slap your daughter's friend on the butt, if you tell off color stories in front of a child, if you watch an R rated movie in a child's company, if you touch the breasts (however inadvertently, or so some claim) of a minor, or if you engage in a little 'loving' with your wife in the backyard or skinny-dip in your own pool and the neighbor's children see you, you could conceivably be charged under this section.

It is very broad in scope. Designed to be so, my DA friend tells me, to be used as a 'plea down' position. But yes, he says with a grin on his face, if fully applied half of society would be vulnerable.

Now, I'm not saying I've bought into the excuses and rationalizations I've heard from RSOs while doing research for this article, but it is clear the possibility exists some may have been branded unfairly.

But not all -- definitely not all. Probably not most, no not likely.

And certainly not those labeled sexual predators. Their stories chilled the blood.

In regards to comments made by hubpages user FLRSOinfo (which we an assume stands for Florida Registered Sex Offenders information) suggesting this section above is 'absolutely ridiculous,' I have reviewed both my notes with info given to me by law enforcement and the local District Attorney's office, and am posting the relevant legislation here.


To ensure I was not inadvertently providing misinformation, I held a telephone conversation with a lawyer working with the local District Attorney's office to ascertain:

1. Romeo and Juliet exemptions ('love affairs' of minors) The following exemptions apply:

  • if the minor is over twelve but under sixteen and the partner is no more than 24 months older
  • if the minor is sixteen or seventeen and the partner is no more than 48 months older

However, in the first case which would make the partner under 18 years of age, even if the minor was more than 24 months younger, the older partner would not be required to register as a sex offender, because in Florida registered offenders must be eighteen.

There are exceptions, where coercion, force or other mitigating factors, or the child was under twelve, where the offender may be tried as an adult, that registration will be required under the subsection (II) listed here -- once the offender is released from the sentence and becomes 18.

Back to the 'just about anything'

You will note, listed among those offenses requiring registration is the broad-strokes, all purpose 800.04 described above in 'less than serious language.'

(I thank my legal contact -- Gordie -- for clarifying this information for me, and on a Saturday, too. I wish to present no mis-information, and want my readers to know, all information given here is the result of research and conference with those professionals in the field.)

Next up in Part 2

We will meet with the Sarasota Sheriff's Office and a probation officer from the Florida Department of Corrections, to discuss:

  • Is the sex offenders registry helping to keep children safe?
  • Is the sex offenders registry unfair to offenders who have served their time, and who are unlikely to re-offend?
  • Is the sex offenders registry helpful in supervising truly dangerous offenders?
  • Has the registration of so many borderline crimes made the registry unworkable?
  • What can we do to protect our children?

Then we will go out and interview four (changed to two) of Sarasota's more dangerous sexual offenders, those classified as predators, and hear their stories.

Thank you for joining me in this background research. I hope you, like I have, learned a lot about this ever growing problem -- both the true scope of sexual offenses, societies efforts at control and containment, punishments deserved as well as undeserved and the plight of those living with the stigma. This is one of our most difficult, complex and emotionally charged issues.

Allow me to repeat, I believe most strongly in the necessity of control of those dangerous predatory offenders. However, I'm not sure that application of a 'wide net' approach works to anyone's advantage.

Sincerely, Lynda Martin

One last piece of background information

I wouldn’t feel I’d done my job if I didn’t share with you the knowledge I’ve gained over the years about the actual source of child sex abuse, and my growing unease with the Sex Offenders’ Registry , along with the stigma, shame and ostracism surrounding its use, the possibilities of abuse and the political motivations that keep it not only alive, but growing. This counter-acts its original intent, to control dangerous predators and keep the public informed. This is a laudable intent; actual implementation has had its problems, its successes and its tragedies.

The old adage of “don’t talk to strangers” as a method of keeping your children safe is perhaps one of the biggest urban myths of our society.

Here is the bitter truth:

90% (at least) of sexual abuse of our children is perpetrated by relatives – family members, extended family members and to a lesser degree, close family friends.

Strangers are responsible for 10% at most.

According to many studies, 2% of child molesters molest children they don’t know. 68% abuse children in the own immediate families, and 30% abuse children in their extended family or social circle.

We are the victims of sensationalized press coverage of those terrible instances of ‘grab, rape and kill’ crimes, which would have us believe this is a wide spread and fearful phenomenon. Also, television dramas – in particular Law and Order, Special Victims -- give us a highly distorted view of sex crimes, their prevalence and those involved. There are times when watching that show I want to scream, “Oh come on. How about a little reality.” I finally stopped watching.

The media would have you believe there is a monster lurking on every street corner – the child molester waiting to pounce on any available child the minute you take your eyes off him. Such crimes, terrible tragedies, are but a tiny sliver of society's sex crimes, but are rendered highly visible -- part of our "instant information" age. Truthfully, it is not the stranger we need to be so worried about.

The monsters do exist, but most of them can be found in our homes – sad but true, very true.

That’s why I see the registry, which was designed to track truly dangerous predatory violent sex offenders, now swollen with the ranks of so many as a useless tool to protect our children. Instead it has been used to make political hay and leaves us with a misplaced belief ‘something is being done.” Something does need to be done, but I'm not sure indiscriminate application of the term sex offenders on such a wide population is the answer. We need to rethink our approach.

Doctor Phil lately said:

"Teaching your children to fear strangers is the wrong thing to do. It doesn't make your child safer, deprives them of many good learning experiences, hinders their social development, and hampers their ability to deal with real-life situations. Your children need to develop the skill to judge other people. If they don't, they will not be successful as adults. Far better to teach your children the real-life skill of being able to assess the people around them."

  • There are two side to every question
    Have we forgotten this time-worn phrase? It seems more and more of us have lost the ability to see both sides of an issue. We have fallen victim to the vice of blinkered vision. Inspired by the reaction to this article...

A link to the second part of this article


lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on June 26, 2012:

Jason, I am not the best source for the help you will need. There are bound to be support groups in your area and I suggest you contact one of them. Or, do a simple internet search and dozens of such organization will show up. You may also want to go through the comments here; a few contain contact information. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

Jason on June 26, 2012:

I read and I must say I am very impressed with your work and the studies you put in to this Lindya well I have to say I am facing some charges as a sex offender and I wanted to know more how life will be for a sex offender etc and what are the steps of your new life after you walk out the court room? Well if you can Please call me @ 646-784-4844 thanks Jason

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on March 24, 2012:

Hi again, Jack. First, you'll notice that all my hubs on sex-offenders and child abuse contain no ads. This is due to Google's Adsense policies, not Hubpage's, so don't feel you are singled out for censorship. Any writings on these subjects cannot be commercial.

I haven't followed McKenna's comments or writings here as I am too busy to do more than write the occasional hub these days, so I can't give much insight. I can tell you that in my experience intra-familial abusers (those who target their own family) rarely prey on those outside that circle. And such incest abuse is rarely about sex but more about power and control. So is a predator? I honestly can't say.

True sexual predators are rarely rehabilitated, but there are very few of those. Most on the sex offenders' lists here are there for either familial abuse or due to an "encounter" with a minor, often an unknowing one. Believe me, I've met many a fifteen-year-old you could take for thirty, and some even younger. Not that I'm making excuses for such actions, but we need to distinguish between a sexual predator and a sex offender: not always the same thing.

As most child sex abuse is familial, with the term family extended to include relatives and close family friends, the much-feared, greatly-publicized and often horrific encounters with "stranger-danger" predators accounts for less than 1% of child abuse cases.

A horrible fact, isn't it? That most child sex abuse occurs at the hands of those that should love and protect and not the heartless strange pedophile at all.

Is McKenna a true pedophile or is he just one of those disgusting men that abuses his own family? That's the real question in my mind.

Jack White from Ormeau Road, Belfast, Ireland on March 23, 2012:

Yes, indeed although my main concern here was his behaviour on the forums and in private correspondence to hubbers. Ironically his hubs railing against public figures have yet to contain one iota of remorse for the catalogue of rape he subjected his poor daughter, Sorcha, to. McKenna/Irishobserver's claims to now be a self-proclaimed 'expert' on sex-offender pathology are worse than than a habitual drunk-driver claiming to be a highway safety consultant.

Yeah, his infamous self-seeking stunts were notorious in Belfast and many real victims were outraged at McKenna/Irishobserver as he cynically cheapened their very real suffering. It goes without saying that his long-winded tale of involvement with the Provisional IRA is utter nonsense and it is telling that, even almost 20 years post-ceasefire, not one single former Irish Republican combatant has ever verified his unlikely yarn.

The bizarre thing is that Hubpages have asked me to edit my hub a little by removing any ads, which I am currently doing, while Vincent McKenna aka Irishobserver, a self-confessed convicted paedophile, is left free to stalk the forums but such is life, eh.

Thankfully, unlike McKenna/Irishobserver, Hubpages is not my only writing outlet and there may be some interesting Sunday reading this month for the vile predator.

I appreciate your experience in dealing with these kind of predatory offenders, in your opinion do you believe that serious child molesters like Vincent McKenna/Irishobserver can ever become 'rehabilitated?'

From my reading, I seriously doubt it as even if chemically castrated, they seem primarily motivated by power.

It is also interesting how McKenna/Irishobserver's pathological hatred of women is still manifesting itself in his vendetta against Irish feminist journalist Susan McKay. Is this common in predatory sex offenders like McKenna?

I am reading his responses here on Hubpages, as are others and he is very much reverting to type, similar to his days as a faux-victims campaigner. Interesting though predictable behaviour in my opinion, dont you think?

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on March 23, 2012:

Sex offenders, like everyone else, have the right to write and publish, so there is no issue as far as I can see. Now that you've "outed" him, there's little more you can do. Or need to. Yes, I think all predators should be exposed, but that doesn't mean they can't write and perhaps they do have something to teach the rest of us, particularly in sex offender pathology.

What I find more humorous and pathetic about the man is his posing as an ex-IRA warrior... Oh, dear, dear. How sad.

Jack White from Ormeau Road, Belfast, Ireland on March 22, 2012:

Hi Immartin,

very interesting hub!

I recently published an article here on Hubpages exposing a hubber who uses the nom de plume 'Irishobserver' as convicted paedophile Vincent McKenna.

It was not so difficult as he admits it on many of his numerous blogs he has written since his release from a 6 year term in Wheatfield Prison, Ireland. He was originally jailed for 31 counts of sexually abusing his daughter, Sorcha.

On Hubpages McKenna/Irishobserver has been posing as a 'reformed terrorist', a role he revelled in before his conviction and of course, there is hardly a shred of truth in his wild claims, although it must be said that in the 1990's McKenna successfully posed for many years as a faux 'victims campaigner' in Ireland.

What concerns me now, much more than his past, is that he may have been using Hubpages as a platform to groom future victims and as you know paedophiles are highly manipulative longterm planners. My fears have been somewhat confirmed by tracking McKenna/Irishobserver's participation on the forums here.

I had thought of contacting Hubpages directly but legally as the offences did not happen in their jurisdiction they would have been powerless to act.

Here are some news links to Vincent McKenna/Irishobserver:

And here we have McKennna/Irishobserver admitting his paedophile past while posing as an 'expert' in sex offender pathology:

I will also send this comment to you via the 'contact' facility on Hubpages also.

Your opinion on how to tackle this issue would be very much appreciated.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on February 03, 2012:

You can also contact me through this site on the button under my profile that says Contact lmmartin.

Pactman on February 03, 2012:

Never mind, I found you. ThisBird...@gmail?

Pactman on February 03, 2012:

I need your help for a project to help prevent child sexual abuse here in Florida and would like to discuss with you. How do I contact you without leaving my phone # for all to see?

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on January 06, 2012:

HI mikeq107 -- I do agree with you that there are many on the registry who don't belong there. But how do you measure maturity. At 15 I was involved with a fellow who was 20, and I was more than his match mentally, but he today, he would be risking a jail sentence. Still, a line must be drawn somewhere as the law no longer has the freedom to judge each case on its own merits. Perhaps that's the answer: let judges BE judges and do away with this mandatory minimum sentence stuff. On the other hand, having met some very stupid judges over the years, as well as some corrupt ones, that would open the doors too far. There's no easy answer, I'm afraid. Thank you for the comment. Lynda

mikeq107 on January 06, 2012:

Very well done..loved reading and all the comments...i believe in Ireland back in the 80`s when I was last there ...the boy had to be 16 and the girl 14...because it was figured that girls were 2 years advanced on boys mentaly.... Davids case is pretty common...A neighbours son is in for 12 years for having sex with a 17 year old girl,,he was 23 at the time...Sorry I dont agree with the courts on that under the 2 year advanced mental advanced state that puts her at 19 ....

The case of the school teacher in washington with the 12 year old...well iread th book and my conclusion...besides the fact that he was way to young and she knew better he was a child!!!...was that mentaly they were of a similar age..of course today they are married with I think 2 children...

I known doctor in this state who at 42 was dating a sixteen year old...mentaly they connected ...recently they married he 72. The courts will forever argue on this issue...I wish we had a way of mesuring moral character and maturity intead os basing every law on age...was not that long ago when a 40 year lod farmer could wed a 15 year old

Great hub...thanks for a wonerful read and David thanks for sharing :0)

cheers Mike :0)

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on December 08, 2011:

Thank for your comment, JR. This is very true. I am currently interviewing and researching a sad case of miscarried "justice" involving a young man. Look for it down the road if this is a subject of interest to you. Lynda

JR on December 08, 2011:

Most of the state internet solicitation laws are unconstitutional and need to be re-written. They were a result of reactionary legislation attributable to the moral panic about so-called internet predators. Research shows there is little danger to kids online. One big problem I have with the state internet solicitation laws is that people are being convicted when they were engaging in protected speech on the internet in venues (e.g., chat rooms) that are restricted to adults and where no kids would reasonably be found.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on January 04, 2011:

Thank you Sheena. What a great idea! Yes, we need to stop tarring so many with the same brush. We are destroying lives while not really improving the protection of our children. We are creating a class of pariahs and that is always wrong. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 26, 2010:

Thank you Antonia. Yes, unfortunately, more children are the targets of those who should protect them, IE their own families than are targeted by strangers. As you say, sad but true. Thank you for commenting here. Lynda

Antonia Monacelli from Ontario, Canada on November 26, 2010:

Very well researched, and well written article, about a very serious issue. I think you bring up some very valid points about the registry, and the potential that is being abused politically, and not necessarily fulfilling its intended purpose.

You are right, it is sad but true that we have to worry more about those people closest to us hurting our children, than about a random stranger hurting them. No one wants to imagine that someone they know would abuse their child, but you can't ignore the facts and statistics. We need to keep our eyes and minds open when it comes this.

I can't wait to read the rest of the series. You have gained a follower!

Citizens for Change, America on November 26, 2010:

Thank you for all you do.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on November 19, 2010:

Thank you sydney.

sydney554433 from United States on November 19, 2010:

Thank you so much! Very useful information!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 27, 2010:

Hey, we were all horny young things once.... A long time ago for some of us. Thanks again for sharing your story and I have no objections to hosting it here. Lynda

David M. on October 27, 2010:

Honestly Linda, I wish I could say that was altruistic on my part, but it wasn't. I Definately wanted to have sex with her, but, you'ld have to know me to understand my logic. First, was in a troubled highschool relationship when this happend ( I cheated on my GF with this underage girl, and yes, I know, I'm a dog and a pig). I wasn't looking for a cheap one night stand. I was looking for someone to fill the loneliness in my heart at the time. I liked this girl ALOT. She was beautiful, sweet, interestin. And treated me like I was the most important thing in her world. I genuinly cared about her, so sex wasn't a priority. I told her things like "we don't have to do this right now", or " we have all the time in the world for this" or "you don't have to prove anything to me". And I repeat, I wasn't that I didn't want to have sex with her, it was that I liked, respected and cared about her. It wasn't until later that same day that she tearfully told me the truth about her age and I knew my world was over. Also, the more I suggested we don't do it, the more she insisted. I was an 18yr old, hormone driven teen. How many times should I have turned her down with the knowledge and limited life experience I had at the time.

David M. on October 27, 2010:

I'm sorry, I accidently hit the "post comment" button prematurely. To continue: the victim agreed through a pre-trial investigation that the sex was her idea and that it was consentual. Guess what?! Without explanation, my motion was denied. Why? Because no judge, regardless of the law, wants to be seen as light or weak on pedophiles. And yes, I represented myself through most of my case. I filed 11 motions, and won 10 of 11. Not bragging, in fact, I would have rather had an attorney handle this for me, but I could have easily spent $15k-$25k to accomplish what I have. I am a professional, and in the last decade, have only found one employer who wouldn't hire me, simply because of my record. I'm sorry to use your comment section to tell my story, but a) I feel I NEED to tell my story until SOMEBODY listens, and b) it seemed like a fitting place. I have a GF of 6 years, who has gone as far as attend court withe and we were together during some of my probation, so no one can claim she's ignorant or that I lied to her. In fact, just about everyone ( employers, co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors) know about my case. Not because they saw me on the registry, but because I'm an open book about it. And everyone agrees that I don't deserve to be on that list. We've even joked about it, that, in 20 years, the registry will be useless, because EVERYONE will be on it. Thank you for allowing me to share my story. If I can give any insight on this topic or if you'ld like to communicate with me further, I would be happy to. I'm will gladly give you my real name and info on a direct email address, but obviously not publically. Again, thank you!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 27, 2010:

Thank you for sharing your story with us David, and for adding your first hand understanding of the laws.

I can't help but ask, just for the sake of curiosity, but if you were level headed enough to argue with your young partner that sex was not a good idea, why did you go ahead? Seems a common sense kind of question.

Thanks for your comment. Lynda

David M. on October 27, 2010:

Hello Lynda, thank you for this informative article. I've read many opinions from you, your readers and other interested parties (namely FLRSOinfo). You will forgive me if I use a fake name, but as you will see, I need to protect my identity. I am a convicted and registered sex offender. I don't expect you to believe ANYTHING I say at face value, but I assure you, I can verify ANY statement I make. I was convicted of (originally) of Lewd Assault on a minor under 16, which, by legal definition, is exactly what I did. What the law fails to acknowledge or to take into consideration, is what ACTUALLY happened and how society PERCIEVES the law. In my case, what actually happened is that 18, I had sex with a 15 year old child. Is it morally wrong: yes. Is it illegal yes. Were the factors of my case considered in regard to registration: not at all. The fact that the victim lied about her age is not a defense. The fact the sex was HER idea is not a defense. The fact that I (believe it or not) tried for about 20 minutes to explain to her that us, having sex at that time was a bad idea is not a defense. The fact that when asked, by the judge to enter my plea, I plead GUILTY, didn't help. I commuted my crime in 2000 and was sentenced in 2001. The "Romeo and Juliet Act" is not an actual law in and of itself. It is an extension to Florida Statute 943.0435. I believe to find it, it's either F.S. 943.04355 0r 943.04354, and it is a JOKE!!!! I tried to bring my case before a Judge, sadly not my original judge who is no longer listening to motions, who I believe would have agreed with me. I meet EVERY qualifying factor under the Statute. Those are 4 conditions and are as follows: 1) the victim had to be over 14 (she was 15). The defendant had to be 18 or under (I was 18). The case had to be an "isolated inidence" (I have no prior nor post convictions). And the sex had to be of a "willing nature"

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 22, 2010:

I only quote the offenders, David, not put words in their mouth. And many of us agree that teaching children to fear strangers instead of teaching them to judge the situation is counterproductive to their safety. Your response is quite common, and as always, we are all entitled to speak our opinions.

Mine are based on thirty years experience in child protection work -- I worked with the victims. And my experience tells me that your rather glib dismissal of the injustices that abound in the system is misplaced, but I also know it does no good to speak to a closed mind. It is easy to say "well that is the truth of the matter" but are you so sure you know the truth... I am sure you do not.

As to plea of guilty to a lesser offense -- this is done for any number of reasons, not just the ones you suggest, and most citizens don't have the money to fight a charge through trial. So if charged, do you try and fight and ruin your family's finances, or plead to a lesser offense. I've seen this at work with my own eyes.

Thank you for commenting here, and I hope next time you will have either the time or the attention span to read the entire thing.

David on October 19, 2010:

Well, I stopped reading after a while because of length but I didn't see anything about the fact that most every convicted sex offender entered a PLEA of GUILTY to a lesser charge. So if you want to consider how much threat a person is, you need to know what they did, not just what they were convicted of. If you notice, there are a lot of "Indecent Behavior" and Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile" convictions. But in many of these cases, the offender pled guilty to that to keep from being tried for the violent, forcible sex offense he actually committed. Often the deal is made to keep the victim from having to testify and relive the event.

A very scary thing in your article is when you say that "don't talk to strangers" is out of date and not needed because the majority of offenders knew the victims, and vice versa. That is true, but the 10% that you mentioned who were victimized by strangers are the ones who make the news when their dismembered bodies are found in barrels or dumped in drainage canals after God only know what they went through. To protect that 10%, I say the stranger danger rule still applies. At least it does for my kids.

Lastly, I saw in several places where you quoted the offenders as saying "the system - ruined my life". or "The system -won't let you work. Funny how none of them said "my crime ruined my life." And that is the truth of the matter.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 19, 2010:

Hi Nathan -- Yes, it's a good idea to "know" the sex laws in your locale... It seems so many run afoul of them. Thanks for commenting. Lynda

nathanaelig from Burlingame, CA on October 18, 2010:

Wow. This is one heck of a hub!! I didn't realize the definition for "sex offender" encompassed so many seemingly harmless acts. I can't wait to read more of this series... truly fascinating!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 18, 2010:

Thank you Bertie. I am all for warnings to neighborhoods that predatory offenders have moved in -- all for it. I just don't think everyone who runs afoul of our antidiluvian 'sex' laws should be labeled a sex offender for twenty-five years. Throwing everyone into the same barrel doesn't help us see the rotten ones. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

Bertie on October 18, 2010:

This was really informative. I have often tried to think of what the other side of the coin was thinking as far as child molestation was concerned. Unfortunately my family was haunted by a family member that was a molester. Since he was part of the family he was difficult to avoid, but every parent knew of his prediliction and warned us appropriately. The problem was that he was a "nice guy", someone we loved. Since I am 62 years old, in my youth there was never a watchdog society for molestation so, if your family did not warn you about neighborhood predators or people who might be part of the family, most youngsters were in the dark. I don't want truly innocent persons to suffer unjustly ie: a couple of teenage boys labeled predators because of irate parents, but the internet network that alerts predators has made my neighborhood aware of several predators who have tried to live here in Bayonne. And, I am in favor of harsh treatment for them. Your examples such as "Sorry" and "Poor Me" make me want to make the law so strict that these men never see the light of day. Because, if someone hurt my child like that, I know in my heart I would not be responsible for my resultant actions.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 18, 2010:

Thanks kinh039. Part two awaits. Lynda

Kim Harris on October 18, 2010:

Amazingly well researched, Lynda, and presented well too. I look forward to Part II. Thank you. I hope we find a better solution soon.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 16, 2010:

Hi what is good for on is good for all, I agree, the law, however unjust should be equally applied to all, no matter what the name.

Hi sadmommy -- your message is not very comprehensible. Please expain. Thanks. Lynda

sadmommy on October 16, 2010:

i am a mother of a three yr old that had a stranger do it he is sixteen and am in fear of injustice

what is good for one is good for all on October 16, 2010:

.Who is above the law?

User Rating: / 0


Monday, 04 October 2010 12:18

In a democracy, the answer should be, "No one." In the state of reality--and Ohio--this does not seem to be true.

The name Mark Lunsford is well known to virtually everyone in America. The rape and murder of his young daughter Jessica in Florida in 2005 and the subsequent arrest and trial of her killer, John Couey, swept the country. Since that time, Mr. Lunsford himself has swept through the country with his demands for laws that each year bring harsher and more sweeping inclusions and restrictions against all those who are labeled sex offenders.

And now it appears that when Mark Lunsford said on a FOX News special that sex offenders could not be rehabilitated and would always be a threat, he didn't really mean every sex offender. When Mark Lunsford railed against the expungement of any sex offense on anyone's record, he actually meant that none but one should be expunged.

Joshua Lunsford, Mark's son, at age 18 had sexual contact with a 14 year old girl, an offense that, in spite of the protests of youth psychologists as well as those who advocate for reform of current registry laws, is responsible for literally many thousands of young people being registered sex offenders, and this as a result of the laws that Mark Lunsford lobbied for and pushed for and fought for and won.

Joshua Lunsford, however, is not a registered sex offender. The offenses--it happened more than once--occurred in Ohio, and Mark Lunsford was able to exert enough pressure on the right people to have the charges dropped to a misdemeanor, not a registerable offense in Ohio although it is in other states.

And now, on October 5th at 9 a.m., Joshua is to appear before the Clark County Municipal Court in the state of Ohio for an expungement hearing. Mark Lunsford said that no sex offenses should ever be expunged, but he says that his son's should be. Mr. Lunsford says that no sex offender can be rehabilitated, that they will always be a risk to re-offend, but he obviously feels his son has been rehabilitated and is therefore no risk. Else he would surely not be complicit in the expungement of the record of someone who, by his definition, cannot be rehabilitated--would he?

If this Expungement Hearing grants young Joshua what he and his father want, the erasing of his sexual misconduct and the restoration of his innocence, then Joshua and his father and the state of Ohio will have elevated him above the law while leaving tens of thousands still struggling with the label "sex offender. Many tens of tens of thousands of these are living in states that require a lifetime of registration because they did exactly what Joshua did and, unlike Joshua, are being held accountable for their actions because of the tireless efforts of Mark Lunsford and his hyperbole.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 12, 2010:

Hi Annie Laurie -- so many childhood victims speak of the same feelings. It wasn't the actual sexual act against them that 'freaked them out' but the reaction of the adults around them. Too bad your mother didn't know me or someone else trained for that work. It is a delicate process. Strangely enough, even for very young children there is a combination of fear/excitement/shame/pain that leaves them very disturbed. When parents or other adults push, the child will often go into denial. I know people don't want to hear it, but the mixture of excitement and possibly a form of pleasure along with the fear and shame is very upsetting but very normal. Also, the child often feels 'stupid' for having trusted, having agreed, having gone with the adult...

It is rare to be abused by a total stranger. For most of us it is a relative or close family friend. God bless you for sharing with us, and your writing about it was by far the best thing you could have done. You should continue to do so, and if you ever want to talk to me about it, my email address is under my avatar. Thanks Annie. Lynda

annie laurie from England on October 12, 2010:

Wow that was a long read but so worth it. I found your Hub very well written and your treatment of those who have left comments to be gracious and patient.

I was sexually abused as a young child by a stranger I told no one at the time except a child a year older than me. This child must have told her parents who must have told mine but for fear and childish logic reasons (I was only about four years old when it happened) nothing my mother did could get me to admit what had happened.

The man hurt me physically but I was too young to understand what had happened to me other than that he had hurt me. However, my mother tried every way that she knew to try to get out of me what had happened and in some ways that was more distressing to the four-year-old child that I was than what the man did to me.

The physical pain inflicted was only over a short period of time and the results of what he did and tried to do faded after a week or two. My mother on the other hand tried repeatedly to get out of me what had happened for months after the incident occurred. As a mother I understand why but as a child it added guilt and fear to the pain that the man had inflicted.

As an adult with children of my own I cannot begin to imagine what my mother must have gone through knowing what had happened to me but getting nothing from me. I knew that I had done the wrong thing and put myself into that situation. From my childish point of view I felt that I was to blame for what happened to me and that I would get punished for doing something that my mother had warned me not to.

I wrote a poem about this on one of my Hubs called ‘It was Just Another Day’

My parents are dead now and I never did talk about or admit to what had happened to me at the hands of that abuser to my mother.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on October 12, 2010:

Thanks very much, JannyC. Lynda

JannyC on October 12, 2010:

Brilliant piece with amazingly eye opening fact that you show in all its glory so that we can not turn a blind eye to this though some may still try. Thanks for bringing this into light.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 29, 2010:

Thanks breakingnews. Lynda

breakingnews from Pakistan on September 29, 2010:

So much information into your hubs. Very interesting reading. i find this hub so much good as i read this and this is with full information as long its looking.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 25, 2010:

Another request from someone who can't post here -- is our system possessed to day? Who asks me to do so on her behalf.

From Miriam, a child protection social worker and educator in the Pacific Northwest:

You seem to have aroused a hornet’s nest. Here are my thoughts, and you may post as much or as little as you wish.

The problem here in the minds of your detractors, as I see it, is simply one of perception. Some see the registry as full of predators, violent predators who pose a great risk to the community. Others, see the predators, but also see the ever increasing numbers added who do not pose a risk to society and question overall effectiveness when the registry has become a kind of catch-all for anything at all related to sex-based laws.

My understanding of what you’ve written here, is one) the registry is a useful tool for both society and law enforcement to control the dangerous predators – those most likely to re-offend and two)you do not question this use. Three) What you are questioning is the wholesale addition of low-level, non-predatory offenders, both increasing the cost and decreasing the usefulness in regards to the original intent, while at the same time having a destructive influence on the lives of both the low-level offender and the family.

I see nothing beyond these very understandable issues to raise such controversy, though I think you may have chosen some unfortunate wording in your conclusion, as seeing the registry as a useless tool. I understand your meaning as being useless due to overuse. You may want to edit that paragraph a little.

I also agree we have sensationalized the idea of sex crimes in the media beyond any semblance of reality. Reality is difficult enough, and so is police work, without such a Hollywood image.

As we are fast approaching a million registered names nationally, people may ask, “Have we really so many monsters in our midst?” You are very correct when you say yes, most of them are in our own homes.

The true violent predatory pedophile is not so wide spread, and like you, like all of us, I would like to see a predators registry. One that could not possibly include the young man in his twenties in a dalliance with an underage girl – a crime so widespread we’d need a registry the size of New York City’s yellow pages to include them all. One that is differentiated from incest abuse crimes, at least until we can ascertain the underlying pathology. No, one devoted entirely to predators (Level three offenders in many states.) This way, we can all devote all our energies to watching and controlling them, without such dilution of our forces.

Julie raises issues facing social workers everywhere and many ask similar questions. We have an understanding not generally given to the public on the difference between incest abuse and pedophilia. We devoted much time to certain questions at one of our last year’s conferences. Of course, we are bound by law to report instances of incest abuse as criminal actionable crimes, yet many of us reported an emotional reluctance in some cases to do so, because of the now formidable consequences and the sure destruction of the family.

Based on my forty years in child protection social work, I’d like to see a stepping back from this issue. I’d like to see priorities put into place. What is our first agenda? Protection for potential victims – then let’s put together a program that best ensures that. We should spend our resources on those most likely to present a danger. Secondly, we need to study the adverse effects of this registry on our society. Though it is apparently in poor fashion to say so, not everyone on it deserves this punishment.

Best wishes to you,


Thanks for the email, Miriam, and the permission to post. I will review that paragraph in my conclusion as you suggest.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 25, 2010:

Invisiblestats -- Thanks for commenting.

Hi Julie, Thanks for sending me the email and asking me to post it. I don't know why you couldn't post yourself, but you're not the first to say so.

It has been far too long, and yes, of course I remember Patrice, though I thought she'd retired to Hawaii.

Thank you for bringing the voice of reason back to this article, and for sharing those 'private thoughts' of yours. No worry -- I'll take the heat for you. You make some very valid points about the re-victimization of the victim. When one's dad is on the offenders' list it must be difficult to deal with the thoughtlessness of other kids. Who at age eleven or twelve is equipped to deal with that?

I hope you catch the article "There are two sides to every question." You've brought up much of the other side here.

Anyway -- thanks again for writing. Lynda

Invisiblestats from london on September 25, 2010:

So well written and researched thank you

Julie from Seattle on September 25, 2010:

Hello Lynda,

Patrice (you remember Patrice, don't you?) sent me this link along with a 'must read.'

As another worker out there dealing with the day-to-day effects of child sex abuse, I must say well done. No matter what the lunatic fringe of both sides have to say, this is a balanced view of a real problem, and one we see on a day to day basis.

Most of us in this field, like you are more anxious to get help to the victims than we are to punish the offenders. Unfortunately, we now see fewer cases coming forward, fewer complaints made. Whereas once we were able to work with the family as a whole, work with both victim and offender in a healing process, particularly beneficial to the victim, that opportunity has become very rare. Imagine the effect on the victim when the family is destroyed, the offender, often a close family member is removed, demonized and pilloried in public. As if the abuse and the destruction of the family was not enough, the victim now hears the taunts on a daily basis at school, from friends, "Your dad's a sex offender." The victim is re-victimized many times over. We used to see a reasonable level of family reunification -- now we do not see as much. The family cannot deal with the effects of registration on top of all the other issues. Often, the surviving members of the family will move away, hoping to escape, but the result is removal of the support system of extended family, friends and the comfort of connections.

I've often asked myself,is all this destruction worth what we gain -- but I've asked it quietly, not wanting to bring all this anger down on my own head. However, you've brought much of what I've privately thought out in the open.

Why do we talk so much about the family? Why is our focus not on the 'stranger danger' on the news, on the lips of many here? Because as workers in the field we know the vast majority of sex offenses occur within the family. For every child targeted by a stranger, there are 8 to 10 abused in the family circle that should be keeping them safe, and perhaps 2 abused by close associations such as a mentor, a family friend.

I find it amusing you are now being hailed as a friend to the molesters by some writing here, and other places -- the poisonous blog syndrome. I googled. Often the voice of reason is unwanted by those who wish to whip up a frenzy over the issues to suit their own aspirations. I've dealt with the self-styled activist on many occasions. They love to go the extreme.

Don't take it to heart. Those of rational mentality understand what it is you're saying here. Remember, you cannot deal with 'impossible people, so it's in your best interests not to try.

I am forwarding this link on to others, so I hope you'll see more comments from your old colleagues and friends. Keep up the good work. I love your process -- no matter who is writing, activist, law enforcement, regular folks, sex offenders. The old "I understand, tell me more." We know what you're doing. A well written article.

Call me.

Julie from Seattle

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 23, 2010:

Hi Sex Offender Issues, I came very close to deleting this comment. It's riding the edge. But after getting a double helping myself of the rant and rave, I can understand the anger and frustration others may feel. I've spoken with people in law and social services. She has absolutely no background or history in child protection, abuse counseling, family issues,and apparently no understanding of the dynamics of family abuse, seems to see all sex offenders as predatory pedophiles and has many complaints against her. She seems to have just popped up on the radar as a self-style avenger. According to my contact -- she styles herself as a child advocate but has no history in the child protection profession. I guess anyone can call themselves an advocate here.

Jill Levenson I've never met but I have read some of her writing. I have a deep respect for her dedication and professionalism.

But may I ask this be end of the slams. I don't want this to degenerate any further than it already has. I wrote this article to express my concerns over the back-firing of the laws that may have started with good intentions. I meant it as an education for those who've never been involved.

My inbox has been on fire since I posted this -- some helpful and some horrible and some even threatening.

So lets all back off and let cooler heads prevail.


Sex Offender Issues on September 23, 2010:


Also, more on who Valigator is (Valerie Parkhurst) who threatened a sex offender with a gun, see here:

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 23, 2010:

Hi soccermom. According to the laws in Florida, if a child is 16 or 17 and her partner is no more than four years older, it is not a crime. Five years older yes. Younger than sixteen, a partner should be no more than two years older. I'm sorry, but your idea that 18-20 year olds having sex with 16 -17 year olds are victimized by this law just doesn't fly in the face of the facts. Please don't quote non-facts here because I'm getting quite enough heat over these articles as it is.

While I personally find the idea of a 40 year old with a seventeen year old repugnant, but is it abuse? I don't know. I would think it should likely be considered as such -- Woody Allen and his adopted daughter, for example. Disturbing. A twenty year old with a fifteen year old doesn't disturb me nearly as much. As stated, that was my own position way back when ...

I agree that cases need to be evaluated on an individual basis, but, unhappily the law doesn't work that way. If it is the law, it is the law for everyone, no matter what mitigating circumstances. Certainly, this means that injustices will happen; and it is no secret that many who are deemed sex offenders are of the variety of having a too young girlfriend and pose no danger.

What to do about all this? I don't have the answers.

soccermother1934 on September 23, 2010:

We should have each SO evaluated by a State SO Board and let let the board decide what level they should be put on not if you this or this you are on this level like the Adam Walsh is.

A 16-17 in a dating relationship with a 18-20 and are having consexual sex should not be allowed to claim they said no on this one date after they break up. Romero and Juliet do not apply if one person involved says they said no. In other states 18-20 years old having sex with 16-17 is a not a felony like it is in Florida.

I am VERY sorry that children are sexual abused by people and would love to see many of them behind bars for life. But the 18-20 lives are being ruined because of these laws. We need the lawmakers to STOP making feeling good laws to get re elected because it shows some how tuff they are on SO. It not only hurts the SO but it mostly hurts the SO's children and family because everytime there is a new living foot laws they are uprooted so that can have a place to live. They children are bullied at school because thier dad or mom are SO. They can not see any of thier childrens plays, concerts at school.

We need SO laws but we also need to have the punishment fit the crime. There is a SO near us his crime, sex with his girlfriend who is now his wife who was 17 at the time. He is now 40 years old raised 4 kids and has not reoffended. I would rather have him next to me than the drug dealer around the corner.

A 40 year old man and be on a lower level than a 18-20 because of the crime they comit. A 40 year showing off his body parts to a minor is on a lower level than 18-20 having sex with is 16-17 dating partner

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 23, 2010:

Hello Tatjana. Thanks for reading and commenting here. Appreciated. Lynda

Tatjana-Mihaela from Zadar, CROATIA on September 22, 2010:

Wow, Linda, this is excellent research and so strange law. That ones who wrote it certainly did not know the difference between coincidence and violence.

BTW, many Hub readers don't have patience to read anything else then tittle and maybe one chapter of any Hub, so do not worry about complaints. You deserve just compliments.

Yes, the most dangerous ones sit at home - some of them have enough of money or power to cover their crime, the others have family members (most often direct victims) who loyally protect them.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 22, 2010:

Then you have completely misunderstood my article. I say, keep the registry for those whose crimes warrant it. I do not advocate throwing out the baby with the bathwater -- I suggest we make the punishment befitting the crime itself -- in all cases.

The feel good about yourself comment is in relation to your "My goal is to make Florida as "sex offender unfriendly as possible" until the day comes when someone wakes up..." That's what I referred to.

As for your sarcasm -- preface the comments "for offenders only" and "I get the feeling" -- seems to me you use that phrase I get the feeling quite often here. Just because you get the feeling doesn't make it so. I have said only what I've said, not what you feel I said.

If I wasn't interested in hearing what you have to say, I would delete it. I would deny you the chance to print it here. I haven't. Even the third -- which really does go too far.

However, you've had your say and that's an end to it now.

Valigator1 on September 22, 2010:

Cant wait for your next series.."adopt a sex offender for Christmas"

Valigator1 on September 22, 2010:

(Why you would get the idea I want the state of Florida to accommodate trans-border offenders is beyond me. Did I once suggest such a thing.) I didnt insinuate that you did. I just wanted readers to be aware that this aspect is a genuine "huge" part of policy making in Florida, I want readers to look at "why" policies are made. I would venture there are some aspects of restrictions that could be modified if, as a state, we "cut the head off" of bad management.

(And why do you immediately raise the flag of an extreme case?) that extreme case as you call it is an example of justice and political will gone awry. My point was clear, if we cant "define policy and justice" on a case as "Jimmy Ryce" why do you want the public to dissect and make new policies on less extreme cases. I dont have any more faith in those than the example I gave.

(My concerns are for those sitting on the registry for twenty-five years)..I have long maintained that the ability to petition off the registry for "certain crimes" should be addressed. That is happening behind closed doors in Florida as we speak its just not so common that it makes daily headlines, but it is coming.

But here's a thought: has it not occurred to you, seeing as 90% of sex abuse goes on within the family,...)

Has it not occurred to you WHO exactly is on the sex offender registries? They are brothers, fathers, sons, neighbors, coaches and teachers and priest..right now men are being released from incarceration on a daily basis..right now if you go to any major front page newspaper you will read "repeat offender arrested" your stats are speculative at best and its no secret that quoting statistics from one source is not fool proof especially when its "government funded". Its obvious that being less than hardlined on this issue has gotten us where we are today, the abused have grown up to be abusers, perhaps it would be your preference if society stepped back to the days when child sexual abuse was a dirty little secret and we threw our hands up. Well how well did that work out for us? I think there is a middle ground, I believe only when the truth is told, the protocol is exposed and the ineptness of the systems overseeing this problem is truly brought to light can people make well informed fair decisions, I read your hub and all I get is you think we should throw the "baby out with the bathwater" becuase its not fair to all involved. This issue is a domino where one aspect is directly dependant on another..I would have preferred that if you were going to do a series about public policies and their ramifications to sex offenders you look at the entire picture, not sitting across from some offenders listening to the "woe is me" stories. They profess to have "done their time" well do you even know what constitutes "time" after pleading down, gain-time, early release and prison overcrowding, these offenders are not doing their "time".At least in Florida they arent. One offender you interviewed should be sitting in a 5x7 not complaining about how close to a park he can reside. So whats the "as long as you feel good about yourself" comment..look lady you posted a public blog with room for feedback, you dont like the feedback? Maybe you should preface the comment section for "offenders only" I get the feeling those are the only dialogues you are interested in..the rest of us have heard them a thousand times..

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 22, 2010:

We are all entitled to our opinions, Valigator. My compassion for the child victims does not blind me to the difficulties of others. Never have a I advocated for more lenient measures against those offenders deemed to be a danger to the community -- not once. But I am aware, as are many others, that there a number of people on that registry suffering 25 years of ostracism for an act that does not merit such punishment.

As to some of your other comments, quite frankly, they are beyond my ability to comment. Why you would get the idea I want the state of Florida to accommodate trans-border offenders is beyond me. Did I once suggest such a thing?

And why do you immediately raise the flag of an extreme case? Did I even once suggest that child rapists and murderers should get leniency? No. No will I ever. This is a ridiculous tactic on your part.

As to other child advocates not being happy -- then they may address those issues with me personally. An email contact is under my profile.

My concerns are for those sitting on the registry for twenty-five years for crimes of a considerable lesser nature -- as I am sure that under your bluster you are very aware.

As to not expecting you to look at more lenient options -- I don't have a clue who you are, and expect nothing from you at all. But here's a thought: has it not occurred to you, seeing as 90% of sex abuse goes on within the family, and that 95% of new sex offenses are committed by persons not registered, that this hard line only guarantees that more victims will remain silent? Only 20% or less sex abuse cases are reported now -- you can bet your bottom dollar that will decline even further, and more victims will go without the help they deserve.

But so long as you feel good about yourself ....

Valigator1 on September 22, 2010:

umm I read this hub, then read it again..more than a few child advocates directed me to it and were not happy. Immartin, I had to double check and make sure you weren't on the department of Corrections payroll the way your information was leaning.While you made a few interesting observations your blog degenerated into the usual "tales of woe" for sex offender groups. But what was more troubling, as I read, your opinions started going into a dangerous direction ..minimizing the potential for disaster to families that may someday have the misfortune of running into many of these people. Considering Florida is as much of a border state as any other, we are dealing with offenders who quite frankly have "no skin in the game" and only resurface to create chaos when they do. We have an inordinate amount of offenders who commit their crimes in other states and move here because the weather is better in Winter. I notice you didn't do much research on the dismal job that the Interstate Compact Commission does. You also failed to mention the repercussions to the neighborhoods of Florida when the "powers that be" don't quite watch the store prior to allowing them to either move in from other states and or don't deport them.I got the feeling you want the citizens of Florida to accommodate these people while giving the Department of Corrections, any Legislative policies concerning them, and many other agencies a pass on enforcement while patting me on the head and assuring me there is nothing to worry about. I must say, for someone who prefaces their hub by stating you have been a child advocate for does give one pause for thought on your stance. I'll impart one opinion from one observer. I wont give up one foot of residency restrictions, I will push for harsher punishments and tighter controls. My goal is to make Florida as "sex offender unfriendly as possible" until the day comes when someone wakes up and realizes that no mother "Claudine Ryce" should die before receiving justice for her family while her child's killer Juan Carlos Chavez still sits in a Florida prison. If we cant get that right? Don't expect me to look at more lenient options for offenders.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 21, 2010:

Thank you for your clarification. Lynda

soccermother on September 21, 2010:

The girl is claimming RAPE after they broke up. Where I come from it is a felony.

Your from FLorida look up the police reports. I did not say Adam Walsh was a SO. But his father is pushing for stiffer punishment for these people. The AW Law does not separate the violent ones from the non-violent ones or the boyfriend or girlfriend classes. If you did this you are this level.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 21, 2010:

I don't know what state you're in, but unless the girl is claiming rape, this would not be a sex crime. For a girl 16 or 17, the boy must be four years or more older.

Yes, I know there are cases of injustice out there. I am about to write of an interview of such a case, but by and large, be careful of painting the entire situation with such broad strokes. To say girls rule and boys drool is to distort the true situation.

I follow the situation quite closely, and although there are rumors, and rumors always abound, there has been no scintilla of evidence that Adam Walsh is a SO. And no one's records are sent to Cuba!?? Be wary when reading such accounts on the internet. Don't believe all you read.

Same holds true for Mark Lunsford. Rumors, rumors, rumors. And he has lost a daughter to a terrible crime. Again, be wary of such stories, and don't add to the misinformation by quoting such speculation as truth. Please

There is enough insanity around this issue as it is.

Thanks for commenting here. Lynda

soccermother1934 on September 21, 2010:

I may have missed it but there a 18-21 who have had consexual sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend 16-17 who are SO. This is because one them have broken up and to get back at them the call RAPE. I know of a case boy 19 girl 17 been sexual active for 6 months and have dated for 2 1/2 years. The boy breaks up and then he is arrest. In the police report she says one thing and in her depostion she says another thing. The boys attorney tells him to take the plea or go to jail for 10 years he takes the ples because he is scared. His parents receive some extra money and gets a copy of the deposition. Neither attrnoey ordered a copy for their records they found out. The girl's story is differnet from the police report. Ask if she will go back to him she says yes I love him and made a mistake and was anger. She has myspace and facebook accounts proclaiming her love for him and asking for his forgiveness. Thre was nothing they could do because the judge refused to reopen the case. Now a young man has no life and will never be able to get a better paying job to support his family. His group therapist says he is low risk of reoffeneding but because of the Adam Walsh Law he is a Level 3 because of the crime.

Then you have Mark Lunsford and his son who should be a SO and are not. But yet they push for more sex oofender laws. Adam Walsh records where sent to Cuba and can not be found.

Girls Rules and Boys Drool.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 20, 2010:

Thank you Susie. I believe that if we're going to look at an issue, we should look at the background, other views, the history. Otherwise, we don't get the whole picture. Thank you so much for commenting, and I hope you read part 2. Lynda

SUSIE DUZY from Delray Beach, Florida on September 20, 2010:

You always put so much information into your hubs. Very interesting reading.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 19, 2010:

Thank you keepitnatural. I hope you go on to read part 2. Lynda

keepitnatural from Yorkshire, UK on September 19, 2010:

Really interesting & very well researched!

Great Hub!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 19, 2010:

Thanks for your comment, Caroline.

CarolineVABC from Castaic on September 19, 2010:

This is such a remarkable hub on a not-so remarkable group of people-it certainly taught us so many things and had opened our eyes into the subject. Yes, it is true that in every "good and ideal" neighborhood, there are still a number of sexual predators/offenders. There is no such thing as a "safe" neighborhood-some might be a little safer than others, but all communities have their good/bad-just like people have good and bad in them. So, it is up to the parents and educators to teach our children how to be safe and be aware of everyone in their surroundings. Although I do agree with Dr. Phil that we should teach our children to judge other people for themselves and real-life issues which is a very good point. Thank you for sharing such a very informative hub. Have a wonderful day. God bless!

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 18, 2010:

Hi Tiffany, I understand your feelings of anger (you're one of the seven out of ten -- welcome to our not very exclusive club.) I spent thirty years with the victims, and I had wanted to know .. Well, I've already explained. Do keep in mind that true rates of repeat offenses 5.3% -- less than thieves, less than murderers, less than any other category. I am sorry you didn't get the help you deserved when you should. Very sorry for you, and if knowing you are not alone helps, you are far from alone. Lynda

TiffanyTesi from In this World Known as the USA on September 18, 2010:

I will not sit and talk to a predator most of them are sorry even though it seems their so dman inosent, their not they'd do it again people like that needs to stay where they are and go to hell. I can not say anything more than that but it hurts cause i was a victum of a sex crime when i was little but noone done anything about it. so why should they go free when we're going to ge the same results

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 17, 2010:

Thank you freedomwriter -- glad to hear from you and pleased you offer the other side of the coin here. I am currently working on the second article, where I interview two offenders deemed dangerous predators -- and let me tell you, those interviews turned my stomach,not so much for what they did, but for the attitude they presented. But following, in part 3, I am interviewing Level I offenders, who like you, without hurting anyone (except law enforcement, it appears) are living under difficult circumstances, and trying to pick up their ruined lives.

I've chosen to do this to present a balance picture -- as balanced as it can be. Yes, there are dangerous people out there, but no, not so many. If we fail to distinguish between the dangerous and non-dangerous, what possible use can this registry be?

Thanks again, Freedomwriter, and i hope you come back to read the rest. Lynda

freedomwriter on September 17, 2010:

Oh ya I forgot to mention 17 is not a minor where I live.

freedomwriter on September 17, 2010:

I would like to ask FLRSOinfo if they really believe the nonsense they post? You really think they are all dangerous? If that is in fact true then why dont we hear about a crime every single day. Nay. Why not multiple times every single day? Do the math 365 days in a year more than 50,000 SOs.

Does FLRSOinfo really think the laws do on single itty bitty ounce of good? Well if that is true perhaps you can tell us about why this study says different...

Florida now spends an additional $36 million a year on sex offender programs. But the number of inmates convicted for sex crimes has held steady in the five years since the Jessica Lunsford Act, according to Department of Corrections statistics. OR...

In a 2008 study from New York State's Department of Corrections, rates of sex crimes were compared for the 10 years prior to the passage of Megan's law (sex offender registry) to the 10 years after the registry was put into effect. This study found that even after the passage of the registration law, there was no change in the rate of sex crimes because more than 96 percent of all sexual crimes are committed by first-time offenders.

The non dangerous get no relief in any state including..

In the state of Colorado there are 10,886 registered sex offenders and 145 offenders who have been labeled as sexually violent predators. There are currently 56 registered sex offenders in Logan County, of which 32 are in the city of Sterling. Two offenders have been labeled as a sexually violent predator in Sterling and Logan County.

I am in a different state plead guilty to a misdemeanor 12 years ago when she was 17 and I 24. Here is what I plead guilty to: The non consensual touching through the clothing. Never even been charged with much less convicted of any other sex offense or a felony.

Yet I am treated like a child molester every 3 months for life.

So with all the proof in the world shown one cannot see with eyes closed. Being told all the information wont help with ears covered. Open your eyes and uncover you ears. No one is defending child molesters or rapists but you take offense to it like we are.

pintails7886 from Memphis TN on September 16, 2010:

I look forward to it thanks.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 16, 2010:

Thank you pintails. Hope you tune in for part 2. Lynda

pintails7886 from Memphis TN on September 16, 2010:

Yes I know, among one of his crimes the possession of large amounts of sexual explicit photos of children were found in his possession. It is a huge tragedy that these things go on in a country where we claim to be so civilized, 1 in 3 homes is an increadable rate. It makes one wish there was more they could do to help solve this problem, I mean actually being able to stop an attack before it happens.

This Guy I was very good friends with in High school was recently Jailed for sexual predation of a minor. It really blew my mind when I heard this. I mean I had seen him around children before, and knew him for years. Never in a million years could I have guessed this would happen. Keep up your good work Immartin, may God bless you in all of your efforts.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 16, 2010:

Thank you arrowsparrow. If I can be of help in your research, please let me know via email above in my profile. I would be very pleased if we could share knowledge. Thank you for your comment. Lynda

arrowsparrow on September 16, 2010:

This was a very eye opening hub. I appreciate that you presented this info in a way that isn't pushing one value or another. You've acknowledged concepts like the R + J phenomena, which is rare even in the scholarly articles I find when I'm doing research for my own focus, which includes young offenders. It's nice to see an expert present information without using "moral panic" tactics.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 16, 2010:

Hi John -- I understand. I have become very aware of the difference between those who are true sex-offenders requiring supervision and control, who have committed crimes with a victim who suffers consequences for a lifetime, and those who are guilty of what amounts to bad judgment, whose victims may be victims in name only, who are unlikely to re-offend (whether or not the actually 'offended' anyone other than law enforcement the first time.)

My review of the records of those offenders in my town shows more of the first than the second, sad to say, but still more of the second than should be. So I want it known, for those apt to jump to extreme conclusions, I am not advocating dismantling the registry, but narrowing the scope of who is registered.

Hi pintails. Yes, it does take a certain ability to distance oneself when dealing with either offenders or victims of crime. It is not for everyone. I spent thirty years in child protection work in one form or another, moving from front line work to background work as I felt the need. If you read my article Rape of the Innocents, I speak quite frankly of the wear and tear on your outlook.

Some pedophiles are incorrigible, this is true.

But be aware, the predatory child molester accounts for a tiny fraction of sex offenses against children. I repeat, more sex crimes are intra-familial, or in the wider circle of the family network. Keep this in mind. Also keep in mind the true scope: 7/10 girls, 4/10 boys are the professionals best estimates (govt numbers are based on actual reported cases.) Another heart-breaking estimate is sex abuse happens in 1 out of 3 homes.

I know how you felt when you said you wanted to hurt this man. I have indulged in fantasies of punishment that curdled my own blood. It is but a coping mechanism.

Thanks for your comment. Lynda

pintails7886 from Memphis TN on September 16, 2010:

Great Hub Immartin. This was very informative and well put together. You know, I don't envy you for having done this. I read a book by the FBI agent that wrote the book on FBI profiling. It is a delve into the sickest minds known to the US, very powerful stuff. And Robert (the man who wrote the books) paid a huge price for his courageous deeds he now endures constant nightmares and a slipping mind. The man has been in therapy for decades now and continues to live his nightmares.

I had the unfortunate chance to meet a convicted child molester. I was the warehouse manager of a small company in Columbia SC, and we were doing some hiring. Criminal Convictions do not effect our decision of employment in most circumstances. However it is common for us to ask about the crime, not just out of curiosity but also for trust, and safety issues. Anyways the Former Catholic Priest (im not making this up.) briefly described to me his crimes which I will not repeat. I told him to expect a call from us in a day or two, unlike most people I called to let you know either way if the job is yours or not.

As we exited my office, the owners nephews child was sitting in our lobby, and the man made a direct line to the child and placed his hand on his shoulder and began to offer the 4 year old child some candy. Now this is a child I have spent a great deal of time with, as he usually spent most of his days there with me, and this was by choice. I asked to watch him and volunteered to take him as I went out in town to do various errands for the company. So you could imagine my reaction to this. I literally lost it, and came very close to getting physically violent with the man. He was wise enough to leave as soon as he saw the look on my face and didn't wait to hear what I was going to say. I never saw a 50 year old man move so fast. Maybe it was wrong of me but I wanted to seriously hurt this thing for his advance on this unknowing child, not 5 mins after he told me he was a convicted child molester.

John on September 16, 2010:

After reading my previous post I would just like to clarify that I have not "reoffended" in any way. I never really "offended" in the first place except for being stupid and not checking this girl's ID, but my actions did effect the course of a 15 year old's life, so I can accept the responsibility there. I attended and completed the state-mandated "sex offender treatment" and have had a first-hand look into the depths of what sexual abuse can entail. What I have a hard time accepting is that the official reason for me being placed on a registry that I was promised that I would not be on is such an absolute lie (the reoffense thing). And what's so bad about being on the registry? Waking up in the morning and knowing that 90% of the world thinks this about me:

"I actually want to know why these people do what they do. What is about their psyche that they are so stone cold that they dont care about people's feelings."

Thanks again for such a great article.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 15, 2010:

Thank you KewlWriter, I will. Lynda

KewlWriter from United States on September 15, 2010:

Yes you are true Lynda, the sheer lust may surpass any other sane reason. Your hubs are really interesting, thanks for all the research and sharing. Please keep up the good work.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 15, 2010:

Hi KewlWriter -- what is about someone that leads them to believe their lust is more important than someone's life and welfare -- I don't know. It is true most abusers have been abused, but most abused do not grow up to be abusers, so do we accept it as a reason or an excuse? I am working on the second -- will be out soon. Hope you take a look at some other of my articles on this subject. Thanks so much for commenting. Lynda

KewlWriter from United States on September 15, 2010:

This piece in particular is very interesting because I actually want to know why these people do what they do. What is about their psyche that they are so stone cold that they dont care about people's feelings. I am looking forward to hear their actual narration of why they did it. I believe that before convicting anyone it is important to know why they did it. Some where I read that this happens mostly because they have some mental illness or they themselves have been victims of such sufering.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 15, 2010:

Thank you Nikitha. Glad it was of interest. Lynda

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 15, 2010:

Thank you hurdlesgreetings. Yes, the rewards and the difficulties go hand in hand. Like many social service careers, it's not for everyone, nor should we stay on the front lines too long. Thanks again, your comment is greatly appreciated. Lynda

hurdlesgreetings on September 15, 2010:

What an amazing amount of research and care you put into this hub. Working in your area must be at times rewarding and also upsetting. I commend persons with the will to work in this atmosphere to try to make a difference. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!!

nikitha p from India on September 15, 2010:

Thanks for sharing this hub! I liked it.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 13, 2010:

Thank you Tiggerinma -- You very eloquently laid out much of what I've presented to groups over the years -- the development of a trusting relationship with your child. Definitely the key to safeguarding your child -- as well as the best way to build self-esteem for your child. Thanks.

Tiggerinma from Massachusetts on September 13, 2010:

Now, enough about me. What is really important here is how do we truly reduce the number of children who are sexually abused? What actually works? If I were to put it in just one word, I would say education. Start with parenting classes. Classes for brand new parents starting within just six months after the birth of their first child, and offered again with each new child that enters their family. Possibly these classes could be linked as follow-ups to birthing classes with the same parents coming back together and bringing along their newborns.

A second series of parenting classes should be offered as their child first starts school with kindergarten. The last parenting series would be aimed at parents who have children who are just transitioning into puberty and prior to the beginning of dating.

Now, once you have had these classes set up for parents, it's time to think about how do we then teach our children?

The first level of training is left to the parents themselves that have taken the first parenting class. The teaching occurs, not at a specified time or age, but by using teachable moments. Talk about what is appropriate to a two year old when your child turns two. Teach what is comprehendable to a four year old when your child turns four.

Essentially, what is taught is trust. A child learn to fully trust and depend on their parents linked with the ability to share and express their thoughts, feelings, and questions with their parents.

For the issue of inappropriate touching, which is the primary area to be taught at this age, toddlers and preschoolers should learn that no one should touch them in any place that is covered by a swim suit, except for their mother of father who is helping them bath or clean up and their doctor who is allowed to check them, but only when their mother of father is present. Any other touching including tickling that is continued even once after a child says stop, is going beyond acceptable limits, "Not Alright!"

Other elements of safety are also taught during this period, like holding hands with their mom, dad or sibling when out in public, safety around cars, stoves, fireplaces, etc...

Two additional classes for children should be taught with the last parenting class at each of the other age groups I described earlier. Again the teaching must be age appropriate.

I'm not going to try and layout all elements of what to teach, but again, the way to actually reduce sexual abuse, is through education.

In His service,

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 13, 2010:

Thank you Tiggerinma. My father bathed me every night until I was around seven or so, a bath I shared with my little sister. I never thought such a thing strange. And he certainly never abused me. Have we really entered into a world where a father bathing his child is suspect? Are all fathers now viewed as potential child molestors? While it is true that 90% or more abusers are familial abusers, it does not hold that 90% of fathers abuse their children.

In every interrogative I have ever witnesses (and they must all be witnessed in most jurisdictions) a video was made of the procedure. As much of a child's communication is non-verbal, ie: posture, eye contact, facial expressions. Often when a child recites coached stories, he/she gets that inward look all parents know, the one you see when he recites a lesson by rote memorization which is not truly understood. The eyes tend to shift to the left. He/she cannot answer questions relating to the story. There are normally many checks and balances done -- at least in cases I've worked in. Did I mention I am Canadian? But I live in Florida now.

Thanks again. Sorry your case sounds so far from the procedures I am familiar with, but then I recognize all jurisdictions are different. I am not doubting you word, so much as trying to understand the process you describe.

Now I am sure you were given bad legal advice. Lynda

Tiggerinma from Massachusetts on September 13, 2010:

Much of what drove my decision to accept a plea was the speed with which all this happened. I was removed from my house with a restraining order, two weeks later, I was charged, and two weeks later I was convicted.

The interrogative that was done with my daughter left more questions than it answered. Pronouns were constantly wrong yet my daughter was then and still is exceptionally smart. (I know, father's pride) But, we were home schooling and when she was put in school just a week later, she was bumped ahead a year. She still, even today, reads at a level three years ahead of her age group. There has been some talk of doing that again, except that she is three years younger than her brother and now just two years behind in school. Another year would put a lot of additional pressure on my son.

Anyway, the pronouns in the statements they claimed were here word for word testomony, were used incorrectly in over half of the statements she made. My daughter speaks extremely well and has always used very proper English.

She said, when asked, were there ever any secrets between her and me. She said, No" but then said that she remembered that I had told her that I was ticklish on my tummy, so she said, "she immediately told her brother and that is where they always tickled me." My ex-wife had alleged that I had been molesting my daughter for more than nine months, yet my daughter couldn't and wouldn't keep a secret for even one day. You could never tell her about any surprise for she could never keep the secret.

One of the more amazing things that they said my daughter said, when asked what she liked to do most with her Daddy was, "That she loved it when him would take her out to a stable to go horseback riding." However I have never taken my daughter horseback riding, in fact I have never seen my daughter on a horse. This again was one of those places where the wrong pronoun was used.

No my fear was not what my daughter would say or, since she was so young at the time, what was written in this interrogative that had been done with child protective services. No it was entirely what my ex-wife had said in her statement and what she might say on the stand in court.

My wife had said, "That I loved to give my daughter a bath." Now what that sounds like was that I had my hands all over my daughter while she was naked in the tub, but that wasn't the case.

My wife would say, "Do you want to give C. a bath or do you want to do the dishes. I would generally choose the bath since then all I had to do was close the drain, start filling the tub at the right water temperature, and then pour in an appropriate amount of the bubble bath my daughter picked to use. We kept all the bubble bath up high because otherwise she would pour in far too much herself. I would then go into the living-room to watch TV. My daughter was big enough to undress and get in the tub and bathe herself, and she did.

After a while, I would call down the hall towards the bathroom and ask C. to turn off the water, since by then, it was probably already going down the overflow. About twenty to thirty minutes later, I would ask her if she was done, and if she still wanted to stay in, I would open the drain and just tell her to get out when the tub was empty.

Again, another five minutes later, I would often go in and find her just lying in the bottom of the tub with all the water gone. I would wrap a towel around her and off she would go to get on her nightgown, dripping water behind her down the hall to her bedroom.

Now came the work of giving my daughter a bath. I would rinse out the tub, put away bath toys, hang up towels, pick up dirty clothes, wipe the floor and leave the bathroom, we only had the one, ready for the next person to use. Yet my wife had told the detective, "That I liked to give my daughter a bath." This is what I was going to be up against in court.

I hope this helps you understand a little more. With the vast majority of sex offenders I have come to know, while some are in denial, most have committed a crime and most of them take responsibility for their actions.

However, especially where custody of children are or will become an issue in a pending divorce, I believe that there have been a number of fathers that have been falsely accused and yet have nearly no ability at all to prove their innocence. Once an allegation of this nature is made, the vast majority of the damage is already done. It isn't a matter of the court proving the accused is guilty, in these cases the accused are generally required to somehow prove that they are innocent.

In His service,

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 13, 2010:

Thank you John, both for the praise and the info and links. Your input is highly appreciated. Lynda

John on September 13, 2010:

This is an incredibly well-written article and my thanks go out to the author and comment writers. The comments show an excellent cross-section of differing views on this extremely complicated issue. I would like to draw attention to some specicfic examples of foul play that I have come across during my experience with this nightmare.

First of all, they explicitly told me I would not be made to register. I was at a party in college and there was a girl there wwho presented herself as 18 but was actually 15. I accepted a "first offender" plea in Georgia and was told that "first offenders don't have to register". 2 years later, the law changed and some 5000 people were added to the GA registry. In this article (Published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution):

The author of the bill that added the first offenders to the registry after their plea agreements clearly states that:

"Offenders who received first offender treatment before the new law went into effect should be able to come off the registry if they are in compliance with the requirements of their probation. Those who are still on the registry have either committed subsequent crimes or were not granted first offender treatment because the judge in that particular trial did not consider it appropriate."

So not only did this guy author a bill that added all first offenders to the registry, he publicly stated that the reason that they (me) are on there is because they have reoffended.

That's pretty dirty.

Another example that I would like to bring attention to is the service, "Offender Watch" that is used by tens thousands of Sheriff's Departments across the country. Here is an example:

All Sheriff's departments that use thie software are acrively promoting the myth that "50% of sex offenders reoffend". Of course nobody can be bothered to change that little piece of false information that is being broadcast to communities all across the country. For more information on this issue please visit this article:

Offender Watch surely makes TONS of money by having these departments use their software, and their software is probably a lot more "effective" when people think that "50% of all sex offenders reoffend"

So that is the kind of dirty-handed tactics that today's "sex offenders" are up against. People like FLRSOINFO like it that way. It makes them feel good about themselves when they wake up in the morning.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 13, 2010:

Thank you Tiggerinma,

I do appreciate your sharing your story and thoughts with us here. There are so many sides to this issue. I don't doubt FLRSO's idea that there are many offenders requiring superivision, but not so many... surely not. Then, as I researched and learned more, I began to grow very uneasy over what I was learning.

I can back up your statement that 95% of new offenses are committed by persons not registered, and there is a very good explanation for that -- 90 to 95% of all sexual offenses are intra-familial. Family-specific abusers seldom go on to minors outside the family circle, for a simple reason -- from all I learned in 30 years work with victims, most familial abusers are more involved in control and domination of family members than sexually driven motives.

I think vengeance and retribution -- punishment if you like that word better -- plays a strong role in our current law enforcement/justice system. But is it worth the cost if it is not effective? Is it effective? Who is being served by this -- the public? law-enforcement?

So many questions...

You tell me my article is being discussed in forums on other sites -- that pleases me immensely. I hope all readers understand, I set out to write articles asking offenders about the other side of their crimes -- did they understand the impact on their victims? What were they thinking, using a child like that? Those kind of questions. I didn't have a single warm feeling in my heart for anyone designated a sex offender. Three decades as a child advocate can leave you feeling that way.

However, after several weeks of research, I begin to see that the victims are not the only victims in this situation.

I have been involved in many court cases involving child abuse, and I have never heard of a conviction where the intervention examinations (physical as well as verbal and psychological) showed no symptoms of abuse or trauma. I think, after reading your story, you got very bad advice, or there was more going on. Not that you have to tell us. Just my own feeling based on experience.

Thank you so much for commenting here. Lynda

Tiggerinma from Massachusetts on September 13, 2010:

I had just gone back to another forum where someone else had commented on this particular article which I believe deserves repeating.

"But there is another aspect to all of this that might interest the current laws are counter-productive and actually lead to INCREASED sexual abuse.

Certainly it is difficult to gather much sympathy for those who have sexually abused a child (as opposed to Romeo and Juliet situations for example), yet in the end it doesn't come down to sympathy for those who have committed genuine abuse, but rather it comes down to a simple question - what's more important; preventing future abuse, or being mad at the offenders?"

In His service,

Tiggerinma from Massachusetts on September 13, 2010:

Yes and No. I have never been a real gambling person, and was told that if convicted I would face up to 66 years in prison. I had never been arrested before for anything, so I didn't understand their bluff. Most all of the lists on lists of counts and charges they made were dropped.

What I will never know like the punk facing Dirty Harry's gun and being told, "How lucky do you feel", is that if I had turned down the 30 day sentence like I did the one year sentence that was first offered, would they have decided to drop all charges.

There was only the fact that my wife's "suspicions" against my word. My six year old daughters medical and child intervention testing showed nothing at all. However, everyone who has ever watched Perry Mason knows that a wife doesn't have to testify against her husband, so most on a jury would believe that since she was going to testify against me, "the wife knows the truth."

I strive to never tell lies. I am an Eagle Scout, and was a Cadet at West Point. Even accepting the plea required prayer with my minister and my attorney asking how I could say I was guilty when I knew I wasn't. But then, I believed that this had all been caused by my wife's mental condition of dealing with menopause and the fact that she had never truly dealt with her own abuse as a child.

During our divorce trial later, she told the judge that she had been abused from the age of six clear through high school. She possibly said this for the sympathy factor, for she had always told me that her abuse had been touching by a neighbor on occasions over a three year period when she was in high school.

She still maintains a restraining order against me and has prevented me from seeing, or talking to, or giving birthday or Christmas presents, or hugs, to my two younger children for 1,090 days today. In six more days, it will have been for a full three years.

Now the No answer. God doesn't put people in certain situations, but He is able to use people any place they are. I have learned that I can serve God by my honest efforts in sharing what I have been able to learn about sex offender laws in our country. What works and helps, and what actually not only doesn't work, but in some cases causes some sex offender's lives to become so unstable that the they convince themselves that nothing matters anymore which may actually lead to more rather than less re-offenses.

In reference to John Walsh's organization the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, I don't believe that I was the one that said he was getting rich off this non-profit organization, but he did use his fortune and fame to fan the myth that "all sex offenders re-offend and thus need this extraordinary level of monitoring that is not put on any other type of criminal.

I feel for the loss of their son, but then, there was a level of parental neglect, and while their son was murdered, there was never any linkage that it was done by a sex offender. There was a fella who died in prison, that claimed responsibility, but then he had claimed responsibility for more than twenty deaths of children yet was actually in jail during many of those and couldn't have done them.

Mr. Walsh continues to push for states to accept and pass the elements of the Federal Adam Walsh Law. So far, all but three states have bulked at the requirements of this law not only from the huge additional costs that they will be forced to bear on a state level, but also because they believe that many parts of the law get it wrong.

We should not be adding juveniles over the age of fourteen to the register and ruining their whole lives when in fact most juveniles end up turning their lives around which is the whole purpose of having a juvenile justice system.

Tier levels for offenders should be determined by assessments made by professionals and set by judges not by just the names of offenses and determined by legislators. The same thing applies to length of sentences. Most states have finally had to change their laws that put drug offenders away for minimum sentences when much more violent offenders were being released in less than half the time served. One of the states that tried to comply with the AWA requirements faced hundreds of law suits and ultimately had much of what was passed thrown out by the Ohio State Supreme Court just a couple of months ago. Georgia and last year Iowa, on the other hand, revised their sex offender laws to actually make restrictions of offenders much more reasonable than under their previous laws. Some are starting to realize that they are spending far too much tax money on such a small percentage of the risk.

The over all truth is that 95% of every new sexual conviction that happens each year is committed by someone who is not on the registry. Most disturbing is that with the additional prosecution of "phone sexting" being charged as possession and distribution of child pornography, the number of prosecutions for what are youngsters having sex until one becomes 18 and then being convicted, and underage girls becoming pregnant and then being forced by the system to bring charges against their boyfriends, it is estimated that this year nearly 60% of all new convictions will be children under the age of 21.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 13, 2010:

Thank you Tiggerinma for this explanation of some of the costs involved. So what you're saying is, once charged fighting against conviction will cost one close to $100,000 dollars. Considering what has been lost, do you now wish you had fought it? Secondly, without poking my nose into things not my business, do you state here it was your wife who initiated the charges? Simply curious.

Yes, I understand how this is certainly good for legal profession, but I still don't understand how The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children may profit, as was part of that comment.

Any explanations here?

I do so appreciate having many and diverse views of this issue presented, so thanks very much. Lynda

Tiggerinma on September 13, 2010:

It had been asked earlier, how are people making money on sex offenders? Well to start with, money is made not only on sex offenders, but on all areas that are connected with the arrest, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and community supervision of those who are caught and punished for any and all crimes.

I am an RFSO myself and while I accepted a conviction under a plea agreement,to begin with, I paid out four thousand dollars in legal fees to my attorney over only a two week period from the time of my arrest till my conviction. If I had decided to fight the charge, I was going to be required to sign a lean against my home as an open ended second mortgage for forty thousand dollars as a deposit for my defense. Actual full expenses of a sexual offense defense can run to more than one hundred thousand dollars. One needs to "prove their innocence" and still the charges alone will still taint the person's reputation for life.

To allow me to continue to work and support my family, ten thousand dollars was paid in bail which was then held for more than two months past my conviction so even though it was returned, the withdraw penalties and lost interest was an expense.

My conviction included an arangement that allowed me to serve my 30 day sentence during the winter which allowed me to continue working in landscaping till the end of the season and thus to continue to support my family. Even though my employer knew the circumstances of the charges, once I accepted a plea, he said that he could not continue to have me work for his company. I have not been able to gain full employment now for the past three years and so that 100K per job which supported my family was lost.

While serving my jail sentence, not only could I not bring in even temporary day work for my family, but in fact the expense of the 30 days was paid by the county. Here where I live, that is figured at a minimum of 26K per year, but the costs are nearly the same without regard to capacity, so while I was being held, I was told that the costs worked out at nearly 46K per person, so the costs were actually nearly 4K for those thirty days.

Two weeks after accepting my plea, based on having been told that my wife "begging the district attorney to save our family", my wife filed for divorce. I later discovered, that her accusations of my abuse of our daughter had been planned over a process of more than three months prior to my arrest.

Upon my release, I now pay a yearly fee of $75.00 for the privilege of having my name on the sex offender registry. I pay $780.00 per year in probation fees, $960.00 for my GPS monitoring equipment, and $1,768.00 per year for my required Sex Offender Treatment Program.

Following my divorce, I am now assessed $245.00 per week or $12,740.00 per year in child support.

My total required costs that I must pay each year due to my conviction is $16,303.00 prior to all of my personal costs to live.

But what are the other costs paid by our tax dollars?

Even original arrest involves those expenses of transport booking and holding till bond is paid or until the actual hearing of the case which is often over a year away. Added to this is generally the cost of providing a public defender, so all court costs on both sides including all of the case investigation and preparation are born by tax dollars.

Prisons average about 20,000K per year to hold each prisoner. Those sex offenders held in civil commitment average over 80,000K per year. True costs done in several studies on the price for GPS monitoring, have proven to be nearly 10,000K per person per year and while only half of what it costs to hold someone in jail, like civil commitment, in some states, these Electronic Ball and Chains are being legislated to be required for life.

Electronic monitoring is one of the fastest growing electronic/service corporations out there with values that have nearly doubled quarter after quarter for several years now. Prison systems are also being privatized all across the country. Multi-million dollar investments that will pay out billions of tax dollars over the life of the facilities. Look who hold nearly all of the controling interests in these two areas of often closed corporations, and you will discover they are nearly exclusively held by the politicians that pass the laws to require their use.

When cuts in public spending are required, one of the most secure and untouchable areas, even higher in priority than SSI are the corrections moneys and in places like California, these rising costs are often even forced upon their state budgets by mandated public propositions. When you want to understand why things happen as they do, often the answer is found by following the money trail.

I hope this allows your readers to see how many different elements of costs are involved within our sex offender management systems in this country.

lmmartin (author) from Alberta and Florida on September 12, 2010:

If I had the solutions I'd be in public office getting things done, not writing articles for free. Thanks for commenting, Lynda

Rosemary Amrhein on September 12, 2010:

awesome hub. very good and useful info. the part on having trouble getting jobs....what's the solution? That's not helpful.

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