Fighting the Destruction of Families
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Vicki Henry, President
Women Against Registry
Women Against Registry is a national organization comprised of mothers, wives, girlfriends and other family members of those convicted of a sexual offense. We have begun “Pushing Back” on laws and restrictions which are annihilating and prohibiting healthy family units. Vicki Henry, President of Women Against Registry says, “Let me clearly state that we are as concerned as the rest of society about protecting not only children but any human being from sexual abuse. She goes on to say that the truth needs to come out!” State legislatures can pass 100 new bills targeted at known sex offenders and think that is all that is required to keep society safe but that is misleading. There are currently 769,000 registrants and more are being added at record-breaking rates which only make the jobs of law enforcement impossible. The recidivism rate is at 5% but the reality is the remaining 95% of sexual offenses occurs within the family, their friends or those having access to the children which will never be reported.
Evidence provided by some of our nation’s top scholars suggests,” Sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws can impede community reintegration efforts of RSOs and potentially contribute to recidivism.” (Jill Levenson, Ph.D., and Richard Tewksbury, Ph.D., titled Collateral Damage: Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders) “Sex offender laws are based on numerous misperceptions about sex offenders and sex offender risk factors, public fear, and the pressure for policy makers to “do something” about this social problem. Also, from a recent study that attempts to reconcile the facts of sex offender science against the views of lawmakers.” (Michelle Meloy, Jessica Boatwright & Kristin Curtis (The Sponsors of Sex Offender Bills Speak Up: Policy Makers’ Perceptions of Sex Offenders, Sex Crimes, and Sex Offender Legislation, page 445. Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of: International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology)
Women Against Registry is asking the Tennessee lawmakers to refrain from passing legislation filed this year (i.e., community notification, registering for life and 3-strike legislation on indecent exposure) and resolve to depend on empirical evidence for future legislation. We ask that alternatives such as pre-trial dispositions be considered for first time offenses. “Legislators cite the news media and the views of their constituents — not research evidence — as their primary sources of information about sex offenses and offenders,” said Amy Borror spokeswoman for the Ohio Public Defender’s Office. (http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2013/apr/22/ohio-public-defenders-office/ohio-public-defenders-office-says-sex-offender-reg/)
Further, we ask that all legislation be based on the Tennessee Constitution, Article 1, Section 11, “That laws made for the punishment of acts committed previous to the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are contrary to the principles of a free government; wherefore no ex post facto law shall be made.” Legislators also need to take advice from other states that have experienced the legal repercussions due to further compliancy of SORNA regulations. For example; The courts state of Ohio were inundated with hundreds of lawsuits due to their ex post facto application of sex offender registration laws, thus accruing tens of millions of dollars in state generated legal costs.
We are calling on our trusted leaders to become familiar with the current scientific research before moving forward with legislation. We are “Pushing Back” against laws that were written out of fear and the unfortunate loss of a few well publicized national cases. Clearly, the familial victim–offender relationship is a more difficult situation to rectify through legislative means. Is this why it is missing from the public discourse?
A member shared a story regarding a church camping trip where she and her husband of 10 years were one of several chaperone couples. A few months later a 14 year old girl accused her husband of child molestation. Her now registered husband has maintained his innocence and has passed 4 polygraph tests. During the time he was incarcerated, the victim’s mother asked the now-registrant’s wife for financial help in which she declined. Out of spite, the mother called the mortgage company and advised them he was incarcerated for a sexual offense. Even though the wife continued to make the payments at the advice of her attorney, the mortgage company rejected them saying,” he was a detriment and they could not continue the loan.” The wife had to move out of their home while he was incarcerated. All of the equity they had accrued over the ten years on the mortgage was lost.
Women Against Registry asks that all families be considered in future legislation and that empirical evidence is the guiding force.