General Question

Snoopy's avatar

Would you want to know if a person is a registered sex offender....in all cases?

Asked by Snoopy (5773 points ) December 11th, 2008

A situation occurred that a coworker advised me that a client was a pedophile. I have confirmed this info via the local registry.

I had difficulty maintaining eye contact w/ this person and engaging him in a professional manner….but I did…

Would you?

Would you always want to know if people are registered sex offenders?

In this particular situation, there is no chance that the person will come in contact w/ children.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

42 Answers

laureth's avatar

A sex offender could be registered and “branded” for life because he had sex with his 16 year old girlfriend when he was 18, and the girl’s parents called the cops. That’s maybe not the best forethought in the world, but it’s a damn sight better than, say, a serial molester of little girls.

If I knew someone was a “registered sex offender,” I’d want to know why he or she was convicted before I jump the gun and get all squicky around that person.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I found out that a coworker was a convict, a registered sex offender. His offense was statutory rape… and I was 16 (I later turned 17). It was really bad; he knew how old I was and he was 30. I was really uncomfortable, and I’m glad I knew so I didn’t end up in a bad situation, though that might have been a function of my age.

I could see not wanting to know if I was significantly older, and I guess it depends on the crime itself as well. Like laureth said: a situation like that is far different from a violent offender.

Snoopy's avatar

@laureth In this case the crime occurred 30 some years ago when he was in his 30’s. The two victims are listed as “child female, child male”.

scamp's avatar

I know of one who will never hold a job or live anywhere without people in his general vicinity knowing what he has done. As long as his victim has to live with what he has done, so will he.

madcapper's avatar

yes these people are sick and deserve to be castrated and ostracized from society! I think they should have to live in “leaper” colonies and never see the outside world…

tonedef's avatar

I would rather never know. I think that treatment of sex offenders is sort of a travesty. Banning them from living near schools or parks (as my state does), doesn’t isolate them from children, it just isolates them from wealthier children who tend to live near schools and parks.

If someone has irreversible compulsions to have sex with children, putting them on a registry is not going to change that. Neither does putting a sign in their yard, blocking them from accessing the internet, or whatever else. As long as someone serves their prescribed sentence, that, as far as I am concerned, ends their debt to society. They should not be repetitively and endlessly punished after their sentence is (allegedly) complete.

In the case of recidivism, we should treat the offender in the exact same way that we treat other recidivists: with harsher penalties and less chance of lighter sentences.

If you want castration and exile, you’re more than welcome to move somewhere where that’s common practice, like, say, Sierra Leone.

cdwccrn's avatar

I would want to know just to increase my level of vigilence to protect myself and the children in my life.
I would not treat these people with disrespect. They are sick and potentially dangerous, AND yet they deserve to be treated humanely.

bythebay's avatar

I would most definitely want to know. We had a situation where a local pizza delivery person was a registered sex offender. He had been to my door, with my children around, many times before I knew. Once it was known, I was simply vigilant to answer the door myself. I treated him with no disrespect, I was just aware.

I disagree with tonedef and the remark about wealthier people benefiting more readily from restricting housing choices. In our area the wealthier neighborhoods are not the ones closest to parks and/or schools so that point is moot. Job choices should be most carefully monitored. I don’t want an offender, for example, cleaning my children’s school after hours (which falls under acceptable work and is the case in 1 of our elementary schools). Children are still about and are in lesser numbers thereby making the situation even riskier.

Should they be treated as lepers and pariahs, perhaps not. But in this case knowledge in our hands is the power to be aware and alert.

scamp's avatar

@tonedef You fail to understand what the victims of these animals go through. They may have paid as you said their “debt to society”, but what about the countless nightmares and endless fear their victims have to live with? They don’t feel as if the debt has been paid in many cases.

As far as I am concerned, as long as this filth’s victim has to suffer with what he did, so should he.

When the horror stops for his victim, I might let up on him, but until then, I plan on being his worst nightmare. the law says that I can freely post his flyer from the law enforcement site as long as I make no changes to it, or write on it in any way, and I intend to take full advantage of that.

rossi_bear's avatar

i would want to know for sure. and here is the website you can look up….www.national/sexoffenders/registery.com

scamp's avatar

@rossi_bear The link didn’t work for me. I think it’s because the word ‘up” got included in it.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I would most definitely want to know. If someone I have a lot of contact with is a pedophile and I don;t know that, what happens if I become friends with this person and I put him/her in contact with children? A number of my friends have younger siblings and if I introduce this person to them, then what? What if he/she picks me up from my camp counselor job?

By the same token, what if this person is not a pedophile, but a rapist who targeted young women? I would want to know so I could avoid being alone with this person.

tinyfaery's avatar

I agree with tonedef. I personally know the reprecussions of sexual assault, and I have seen the reprecussions of it when I worked as a counselor. I don’t have kids, and I know how to protect myself. I do not want to know everyone’s personal business.

tonedef's avatar

This is the second time tonight that people have thrown in my face that i couldn’t possibly know what victims of crime go through, but I’m a victim advocate. I respond to hospitals in the middle of the night and counsel victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. So please don’t assume that I’m some criminal-loving anarchist.

I just personally feel that the sentences themselves are sufficient punishment, and they are more often than not satisfactory to the victims I accompany in court.

binary's avatar

I’m sympathetic, sometimes there are more sides to a story than just the side you are forced to see. If I had children to protect then it is understandable to try to take precautions, but unless they are repeat offenders or constantly talk about raping kids (et cetera) then I find no trouble talking to sex offenders.

rossi_bear's avatar

*offender. sorry i am on pain meds and did a mispelling there.

Tantigirl's avatar

It is the offenders who we don’t know about that worries me more. I look up the Family Watchdog site every couple of months or so to see who might be around the area. You type in your address, and a map of the area around where you live comes up, with indicators which tell you who the offenders are, and what they were charged and/or convicted with.

Sloane2024's avatar

No. Unless I was informed of why they were convicted, I wouldn’t want that knowledge influencing my opinion of them. There is a man extremely close to my family. He is a well-known lawyer in the area and a licensed police officer, spending his free time volunteering at local shelters, schools, and hospitals. He has never married, and lives with his elderly parents in order to take care of them. He is a saint if I’ve ever known one, but has been convicted as a sex offender. There was a group of boys robbing a gas station, and he was called out to provide back up. Obviously, he had to frisk them to ensure they had no weapons, and, when tried in court, the boys used this as a method to get him convicted, and their consequences shortened. It worked, and he’s now been sentenced 80 years in a penitentiary, had his licenses suspended, unable to tend to his elderly parents, and not allowed to be alone with children ever again. It’s just the most devastating, frustrating, and infuriating situation….

cheebdragon's avatar

@sloane- There has to be more to that story…you might not know the entire situation but that is not it…no one gets 80 years because they frisked someone.

augustlan's avatar

Yes, I’d want to know, but I would also want to know what offense they were convicted of. True pedophilia is far different than statutory rape. I am a victim of repeated childhood sexual abuse, and as such I know that to my offender, sexualizing children was as natural as breathing air. I truly don’t believe they can help it, and in many cases are powerless to stop it. To me it isn’t about punishing them further after they’ve paid their debt, it is about protecting my children from a known risk. Something I take very seriously. We had a pedophile move into the house right behind ours for several months. He’d been convicted of raping 2 female family members, one of them under 5 years old. You can bet your ass that my daughters were aware of him, and the threat he posed. The truly scary thing is that no matter how many we know about, there are far more that we don’t know about.

augustlan's avatar

Holy crap. I just checked Family Watchdog again, and there’s a new one…right across the damn street!

Nimis's avatar

Something’s peculiar with that Family Watchdog site.
It basically says that one offender lives in a park.
And the other offender lives on the beach. Eh?
(I’ve never seen homeless in either area either.)

cak's avatar

I check those things, the registries, but I am a sexual assault victim. I can’t ever say that feeling truly goes away. Especially since I knew the person. Thing is, it could be anyone. You can look around and someone in the same store, could be an offender. You’d never know. They don’t wear signs around their necks announcing their past. If they did, they would be run out of town, in a lot of instances.

I do take into consideration that unfortunately, there are a fair amount of statutory rapes…and I don’t agree with a lot of those convictions. True convictions for rape is pretty hard to come by. So when or if I see a conviction for something like that, it dredges up the past.

I had to do background checks at a job I held, the first and last time I came across someone that had a conviction for sexual assault, I could barely stand to be in the same room with the man, to tell him that he didn’t pass the background check; therefore, we had to rescind his employment offer. To look at the man, clean cut, nice looking man. Pleasant to talk to, witty and personable. Not a monster at all. I guess he conveniently forgot his conviction or something. Thing is, I would have never know. I’m sure it’s happened before, but I don’t want to know.

What I look for is my neighborhood and close to my son and daughter’s schools. I check near libraries, but understand that these things aren’t always accurate.

I try, very hard, to understand that some people do change, but I guess I fail miserably in this category. After having been violated in such a personal and horrific way, I don’t ever want to be near someone that has committed this crime. Do I check everyone out in my life? No. If I started doing that, I think I would go completely insane.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I’m really torn here. On the one hand, it’s good to know to be able to avoid potentially harmful situations. On the other hand, there was a girl who is, I think, 15 and was just convicted of child pornography for taking a racy picture of herself and posting it to her MySpace. While I think she showed an incredible lack of judgment, I don’t think she deserves to be branded as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

I do, however, think that if we as a nation put more effort into reforming sex offenders instead of throwing them in jail or whatever, we’d be better off. Our sex crime recidivism rate is something in the 80s percentage wise. I can never remember the exact amount—I think 87 or 83%. The Czech recidivism rate is the exact opposite of ours—in the teens and the two add to 100 (which is why I remember it). The difference? Sex offenders can plead that they have a fetish that caused them to do the action in exchange for a truncated jail term (and there is a psych test they take to determine this). The kicker is that after jail they go to live in a mental institution until their therapist says they are better. Honestly, I really think that the recidivism rate speaks. Most of our offenders offend again. Most of theirs do not. This must be working in some way.

I would MUCH rather have a good system in place to deal with sex offenders than the current system of “well if you know, you can protect yourself”. Frankly, I’d be fine with never knowing as long as these people were getting the help they might need. Especially since that would mean I don’t know about the entirely embarrassing incidents like that one girl. Her entire life is basically ruined in some ways because she acted like a teenager.

scamp's avatar

@tonedef I think you misunderstood my post. I was talking about what victims go through for years afterward, and the effects last much longer than most of the perp’s sentences. I think what you do is a very noble thing. Victims need a lot of help at the hospital and during the trial. A Lot of them would not have the strength to get through it without a good victim advocate.

But the suffering doesn’t stop once the jail doors slam on the perp. A Lot of victims have a life sentence of fearfully looking over their shoulders and mistrust, because it is well known that many of these people are repeat offenders.

I did not even remotely imply you are a criminal loving anarchist, or anything of the sort. To be fair, if you read your post again, you might see why I had no idea of what you do and why I said you fail to understand what victims go through. You made no mention of being a victim advocate in that post.

I wonder how many victims you see long after the trial is over. Have you spoken with them years later? In my experience, there was no contact after the trial except for a letter telling us that the perp was getting out of jail, a mere 10 months later, and the very day he got out, he showed up in the victims front yard, despite a restraining order.

It’s been 10 years now, and she still cannot so much as take a shower in her own home without someone standing outside the door to make her feel safe, while this slime walks about freely after committing several similar crimes and getting just a slap on this wrist each time. His brother is the same. He has been arrested, found guilty and jailed 5 times, and now has absconded.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I would always want to know, but like others, I would want to know why they were convicted of it and if they were a repeat offender.

When it comes to pedophilia, there are at least two kinds. The first is an offender who was most likely abused as a child and so continues the cycle, sometimes unaware of why they’re even doing it. A lot of them know it’s wrong and genuinely feel horrible about it – which is sometimes enough for them to try and get help. If they don’t bother getting help – fuck them, they’re evil (in my own sense of the word).

The other kind of pedophile is, simply put, nothing but pure evil. They are the kind that know it’s wrong and get off on it for that exact reason. They’re the kind that are all about corrupting innocence. They are the kind that would never try to get help because they simply don’t want to. They are the kind that probably started it all. They are generally repeat offenders. They should be castrated.

girlofscience's avatar

I think it is ridiculous that all sex offenders’ pictures, addresses, etc., are online for anyone to see for the rest of their lives. I just don’t think that’s fair.

Everyone deserves a second chance.

cheebdragon's avatar

@girlofscience- How many kids do you have?

KatawaGrey's avatar

@cheeb: My mother is in Mensa and one time when I was very young she was at a party and there was a great amount of discussion about one of the members who had just recently come back to local group. He was a convicted pedophile. One of the women at the party was so angry that everyone was ostracizing this man. My mother asked her the same thing, how many kids did she have. her response was that this man had paid his debt to society and he deserves a second chance. I have no kids of my own, but the thought that someone could commit such a horrible atrocity against the most vulnerable members of our society is disgusting. I’ve done some things in my life that I am not proud of, but every person who has been hurt has been able to defend him/herself and understand what was done. I think that is what separates pedophiles from the rest of us.

girlofscience's avatar

@cheebdragon: People fail to realize that child molesters make up only a small percentage of the online database of sex offenders…

Is it really fair that the 21-year-old man who slept with his 17-year-old girlfriend in a stage in which the age of consent is 18 is branded for life? Denied employment because of his “sex offender” status? Outcast from his area because, any time he moves, neighbors are alerted to his sex offended status?

Snoopy's avatar

@GOS This seems to be the example that people use when defending public info on sex offenders. The “close in age” couple. One over the age of consent, one just under the age of consent. Sprinkle in the girl being the younger of the two w/ disapproving parents…..

In the instance that I am referencing, as stated above, the crime occurred 30 some years ago when he was in his 30’s. The two victims are listed as “child female, child male”.

I suspect that examples of what you are suggesting are indeed present. I further suggest that they are not the majority of those registered.

GOS, are you suggesting you would not want to know if a serial rapist was your neighbor? That nice guy who always helps you out and you invite over for supper as a thank you?

What about the guy who moved into your neighborhood. Who says he is a retired piano teacher. Would you not want the info that he just was recently released from jail for being a pedophile before one of your children took private lessons w/ him….?

I have read everyone’s answers and appreciate your thoughtful responses. I believe that my personal safety and the safety of my family trumps the privacy rights of the sex offender.

cak's avatar

@gos – I think this is a case where the danger or a serial rapist, a pedophile, someone that has a history of sexual battery and shows signs of escalating – outweighs the side of statutory rape.

I know what it feels like to be assaulted and as a parent, mother, sister, friend…neighbor – I don’t want anyone to go through what I did, and knowing that there are others that go through this, shakes me to the core.

As far as the registry, a friend of mine that lives in a very nice neighborhood decided to log on, one day. She found that one of the bus stops in their neighborhood was two houses away from a pedophile. Had he acted on anything, no, but did those parents work on moving the bus stop – absolutely. Was it fair to the man that lived in that house? To me, yes. We don’t let our children play with matches…fire burns. Why put them at risk and possibly tempt him to act upon something that clearly, he fought against. He was convicted two separate times for some form of child molestation – years apart, he was a repeat offender. Tell me that wouldn’t bother you. Would you not want that information and to be able to protect children from possible danger?

I get what you are saying; however, I firmly believe that it needs to be out there and should be utilized. There is a level of unfairness about statutory rape (I’m talking 17/18 thing…extremely close in age) and that possibly, they should be differentiated from the other offenders – but until something like that happens, or things are changed, then I’m sorry – for the safety of my children, myself and others, I’ll continue to use it and act within the law, to protect others.

augustlan's avatar

As a willing participant of ‘statutory rape’ in my teen years, I would not hold that against someone. Child molesters and rapists are a different story altogether. That’s why it’s important to know what sex offense a person was convicted of.

cheebdragon's avatar

If you think they deserve a second chance, that’s fine, we will send them your way. You can give them all the chances you want, hell, just leave your doors unlocked at night….they’ve paid their dues right? Go ahead..send your kids over to their house to play…what’s the harm in that? I’m sure they are all really nice people….~

cheebdragon's avatar

So what about the people who have been convicted for embezzlement or burglary….should their criminal record be available to any future employers?

laureth's avatar

Many employers do background checks, which would turn that sort of thing up (unless it’s been removed from the record somehow). Plus, there’s that little ticky box on a lot of job applications that asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony. I bet it’s there for just that reason.

scamp's avatar

I love you cheeb!! You took the words right out of my mouth.

Snoopy's avatar

@cheeb I think that is a great question.

FBI background checks are not expensive to perform. In the case of certain companies or employers, I suspect it could actually be a liability issue if not performed.

bea2345's avatar

@tonedefIf you want castration and exile, you’re more than welcome to move somewhere where that’s common practice, like, say, Sierra Leone. No need to insult the citizens of Sierra Leone, we get your point. It is fairly obvious that a registry is not altogether satisfactory, as it captures all sex offenders, some of whom cannot be classified as dangerous – e.g. a teenager having sex with an underage teenager. Perhaps what you need is a standard description for offenders that are at high risk of re-offending, to determine whose name is published.

Further, a registry is only as good as its enforcement. If there are no facilities for the repeat offender to receive such treatment as is possible; if s/he cannot get a job, or decent housing, because of ostracism: then you are wasting your time. The offender may not have one problem, but many; most requiring the intervention of social, medical and psychiatric services, not to mention the police. His family may have expelled him, so he has nowhere to go. This is no bleeding-heart liberalism, it is sheer common sense. How do you keep watch on the more dangerous offenders if they cannot be re-integrated into ordinary society? (These are some of the problems we have here in Trinidad with a registry).

justus2's avatar

@tonedef and GOS i agree. I don’t believe that sex offenders records should be available to the public, i think once they have done their time in prison they deserve to be able to live their lives as a normal person and get a job and housing.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. Would that same stance go to drunk drivers? Would you want to know? You might end up with this person going to a job site, or other place with them to conduct business then you yourself maybe in danger as well as anyone else on the road. What about your neighborhood? If you have kids that play curb side basketball or street hockey they can be in danger as you worry about the man down the street in the “stained lined raincoat” some 4 time DUI driver could be ready to plow through your kid’s street hockey game or mow them down in the cross walk. The rub is you or your family will never know to look out for this person or the vehicle they drive because their history is private. If you are queasy about looking this customer in the eye because of his past sexual contact with children who I am sure lived through the ordeal (even if it wasn’t pleasant for them) you might think about your customers with a DUI who’s victims more than not ended up maimed if they didn’t die in the encounter.

tonedef Larvae for you, iron in your words of wisdom and logic.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther