Laurie Essig over at Class Warfare points out how easily she could become a persona non grata.
I have most certainly urinated in public (if national parks are public) with children, had sex as a teenager, and gone streaking (as a teenager). What that means is that even more of us could be registered sex offenders than the 675,000 Americans already on the registries. That means our photos could be on there, our addresses, we could be targeted for harassment, threats, and in a few recent cases, vigilante-style executions. Because so many offences require registration, the number of registered sex offenders in America has exploded.
Meaning, those of you who evacuated any one of the several Florida hurricanes a few years back via a 12-hour east-west or west-east cross-state road trip that typically takes two or so hours and traveled without a porta-potty, she's describing an incredibly plausible situation that could go bad fast for any one of us.
Essig contends harsh offender laws played a Perfect Storm role and helped hold Jaycee Lee Dugard hostage as easily as did her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido.
The case of Phillip Gariddo (sic), accused of kidnapping then 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard and holding her hostage for 18 years, sexually abusing her and fathering two children with her, has revealed the paradox at the center of America’s unusually tough sex offense laws. The harsher the laws get, the more people who are caught in the ever-expanding net of offenses, the easier it is for the real child abusers to go undetected.
The New York Times seems to share Ms. Essig's opinion. (Case Shows Limits of Sex Offender Alert Programs, 9/1/2009)
The sheer numbers of sex offenders on the registries in all 50 states — an estimated 674,000 across the country — are overwhelming to local police departments and, at times, to the public, who may not easily distinguish between those who must register because they have repeatedly raped children and those convicted of nonviolent or less serious crimes, like exposing themselves in public.
Although Mr. Garrido was listed on the state’s public registry, the deputy, the sheriff said, had not known he was a sex offender and did not search the house or yard, where primitive tents were housing his captives.
Mr. Garrido’s case has also renewed concern that policies regulating offenders may inadvertently be driving them to live in more remote, out-of-the-way places, where crimes can go unnoticed. Nine other registered sex offenders live within a mile of Mr. Garrido’s home on the outskirts of Antioch, in a dusty neighborhood on the outer reaches of the Bay Area.New rules in many states have barred offenders from living near schools, parks and bus stops, and that has led some offenders, unable to find other alternatives that meet the rules, to live in rural areas, in their cars and, in at least one case in Florida, under a bridge.
Meanwhile, one of those who calls that same bridge home and is listed as a plaintiff in the ACLU case has been arrested for trespassing near a Miami park and violating his probation.
Bryan Exile's lawyer, Bruce Alter, criticized police, saying his client frequently visits family members who live in Rainbow Village, a public housing project in the 2100 block of Northwest Third Avenue.
``His wife dropped him off at her relative's home and he had a perfectly legitimate reason to be in this complex, and any suggestion that he was anywhere in the neighborhood of the park to prey upon kids is patently absurd,'' Alter said.
Exile has been on probation since 2007 after being convicted for lewd and lascivious battery on a child.
I find the defendant's surname incredibly ironic.
For those flinching at Mr. Exile's conviction, obtain a police report before passing judgment. Many such a charge is the end result of a Romeo and Juliet situation.
Read more over at The Miami Herald. (Make certain to check out the interview with landlord Ron Book).