Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Sex offenders are bad! Child safety, check." (Child Safety Zone hysteria)

There's a poorly researched Associated Press article circulating around the internet right now about a crowded homeless shelter in Cranston, RI that houses about 100 men. The shelter is allegedly in very poor condition and past its maximum capacity. The shelter directors want to relocate a few blocks away into an abandoned women's prison, which would allow them to offer their residents efficiency apartments as well as cleaning, maintenance and job skills classes to help them re-integrate into society. The problem? Big bad SEX OFFENDERS! Who all want to hunt down and prey on little children! It's so so so scary! Except it's not. Out of the 100 or so residents, "4 or 5" are sex offenders. To read the little gem by David Klepper: http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2012/03/26/cramped_ri_homeless_shelter_faces_hurdles_in_move/

For some unknown reason Mr. Klepper decided to ask Suzanne Arena for her opinion on the issue, which not surprisingly was that she did not support the move. She continued on, stating that she "never wanted them here" (referring to sex offenders). "Not in my backyard" strikes again. So where's the solution, Ms. Arena? Push them all into another community and let those children pay the price? Of course, that's assuming that these registrants are predatory monsters who have insatiable appetites for little kids. That's what Ms. Arena believes, and what most of the local politicians have latched onto. Luckily, that's probably not true. But the fact that Ms. Arena and her supporters are so quick to denounce the registrants, yet offer no solutions, is troubling.

This issue is nothing new, in fact it smacks of residency restriction and child safety zone hysteria of the recent past. For whatever reason, this particular incident of emotion-based, factless fear-mongering that lacks any actual solution inspired me to record a two minute video for your viewing pleasure. I'd like to make it very clear that this type of attitude is precisely what leads to re-offense. Remove every last remnant of incentive for registrants to re-integrate healthily, and what do you get? A desperate person with nothing to lose. Prohibit sex offenders from residing in a homeless shelter? People who are impossible to track or monitor. Make no mistake; when you fall into this type of mindset, you are not a child safety advocate. You are promoting new sex crimes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I am collateral damage of the sex offender registry

So, I've finally made my TV debut. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth the four minutes: http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Woman-engaged-to-sex-offender-registry-ruined-our-life-143561776.html

They did an OK job; not great, not bad. 90% of what I said was edited out, including my emphasis on the millions of children and family members whose lives are in danger because of the registry. Also conveniently not included was my polite, concise debunking of several of the most common myths (no, most sex offenders don't re-offend. No, they have not all committed crimes against children. Most victims are abused by people who aren't on the registry.) They also royally screwed up my fiancee's crime and conviction dates, which ironically demonstrates just how misleading the registry is (his entry includes the age of his victim when the crime was committed, NOT when he was convicted, which is a considerable difference). But they did give me something: a platform.

I can assure you that this is far from the last anyone will hear from me. Inevitably, some of the 165+ comments below the story were ignorant, deragatory and missed my point entirely, that their hatred and lack of knowledge is hurting innocent people. Someone went so far as to create a username on the forum "Topix" using my name, and post that my fiancee and I were looking for children to molest. A few months ago it would have bothered me. Now it just makes me laugh.

Whoever that sad person is, who has so little going on in their own life that they try to defame a complete stranger, is doing exactly what I want them to do. I'm glad they would rather act like kindergarteners while I'm out making change and raising awareness. I don't know if they are just scared of the truth, reality or both - but they and all the others that take time out of their busy days to create websites about me, cyber-stalk me and copy and paste random sentences from the hundreds of letters I've written are doing just what I want them to do: STAYING OUT OF MY WAY.

And this is what brings me to owning your fear, family members. You are collateral damage. As long as the registry exists, YOU and your family are in danger. You are easy targets and you are suffering punishment for a crime you didn't commit. The fact that you love a person who made a mistake in their life is nothing to be ashamed of; suggesting that the destruction of families is an acceptable solution to minimizing danger is ludicrous and goes against the very fiber of what our country's values are supposed to be. Destroying families to protect families? I'm confused.

We have two choices: live in fear and hope no one bothers us, our loved ones won't be hurt or killed, and surrender to the reality that we are second class citizens. Or, we can OWN that fear - the fear we've been forced into by a self-serving government and ignorant masses - and use it to our advantage. Family members, you are NOT alone. You have the chance to be a part of something amazing. Please, please join me and the others who have risen out of the darkness and take back our rights to love who we love and not be persecuted for it. The time is now. WE are collateral damage and we cannot be ignored!

Be sure to check out my follow-up to the interview, particularly Rich Ferrucci's pathetic defense of the registry, at the top left of this page.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fighting for families

This week I heard two stories from two different people in two different parts of the country. They have never met or spoken to each other. Yet they got the same infuriating news from their childrens' schools: you are not welcome at your child's graduation. In fact, if you show up, you will be arrested and led away in handcuffs. Both men are registered sex offenders.

Both men were saddened to miss such an important event in their child's life, but were far more concerned with their children's reactions - humiliation, sadness, disappointment, anger. Their children have already been forced to live through the accusations, trial, and incarceration of their fathers. Both children and their mothers already risk their safety simply by sharing a home with their father, because their addresses are publicized on the registry. Now this?

Every day I speak with women whose husbands or boyfriends are barred from living with them because our justice system thinks they will molest or abuse any and all children under 18, even if their previous convictions do not involve children. I even know women who have divorced their husbands and moved away from them; not because they don't love or support each other, but because they were threatened with losing custody of their children if they did not do so. That's right - families literally shredded in half and financially ruined due to our society's method of punishing the poor choices of one parent.

Fathers who do live with their children often cannot accompany them to school or other activities where non-related children may be. This may seem trivial, but think about how many important events in a child's life occur at such places: graduation, of course - as well as plays, sporting events, recitals, and even something as mundane as dropping them off at any of the aforementioned events. If you don't think the police actually enforce these laws, think again. A 31-year-old man in Jacksonville, North Carolina was arrested in January of this year for dropping his daughter off at a Girl Scouts meeting. Can you imagine how frightening and embarrassing this must have been for his young daughter?

Unfortunately, as I've mentioned before, children themselves are not immune to the all-encompassing vacuum of hell that goes along with being forced to register as a sex offender. This 2009 study by the US Department of Justice reveals that not only do children make up about a quarter of all registered sex offenders, they also account for over a third of all sexual crimes against other children. With nearly 750,000 sex offenders on the registry in this country, that means just under 190,000 high-school age children (and younger) are being subjected to a damning lifelong label and punishment. In addition to the crippling effect this has on their futures, what about that of their siblings and parents?

Having an incarcerated or previously imprisoned family member is never easy. However the families of sex offenders are subjected to far more hardship and instability than the families of other felons. I say that all families deserve peace of mind, security and privacy.

A family in the UK with two young children reported that their kids were having difficulty sleeping because they were so terrified of being attacked after an unknown individual posted false sex offender posters and listed their address. But is this not exactly what we are doing to the families of sex offenders right here in the United States? Some argue that it is a worthy price to be paid if it protects just one child. But what about the children of sex offenders - are they exempt from the very laws created to "protect" them? If so, why? Who decides which children, and which people for that matter, are deserving of basic human rights and who are not?

It certainly shouldn't be self-absorbed politicians and lawmakers who directly benefit from laws that reflect nothing but misguided public hysteria.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vigilantes in child advocacy clothing - the real evil unveiled

Apparently, I've pissed off some hardcore internet trolls this week. Following a story by Ryan Luby, which profiled a hate group posing as a child advocacy/anti-sex crime group, commenting below the article became almost instantly polarized. Myself and several others called out the true motives of the group, Evil-Unveiled - as well as the reasons why their approach to preventing sex crime doesn't work, even if it were their true mission. As they were bombarded with more and more information, their responses became notably desperate. After proudly admitting that they don't deal with statistics:

they soon sent their minions out in full force, making personal attacks on anyone who disagreed with them, but mostly on me. I always warn people who question my motives or my knowledge on this subject to knock themselves out if they want to try and discredit me. I have nothing to hide and I am unapologetic about my devotion to my fiancee. As usual, though, the only comeback they could muster was one completely devoid of facts and failed to acknowledge any of the many ways I pointed out that their approach is ineffective. Just look at this gem from Trillian Dent, aka Cyntha Dale Harvey:

Unlike them, the truth is on my side, and my fiancee is the perfect example of how poorly the registry and related legislation has worked to prevent sex crimes - not to mention the tactics used by faux victim's rights groups. Case in point: if they did what they were supposed to do, why is it that the abuse suffered by my fiancee went unpunished and even unnoticed? No amount of emotion-filled argument can negate the atrocity that was allowed to be committed upon my fiancee, and essentially condoned by our justice system.

So, imagine my shock and awe when I received this email from Ms Dale Harvey herself, with not even a hint of the acid-tongued hatred that had accused me of condoning child rape just hours earlier:


I'd like to talk to you for a bit.  I think that we agree about a lot of things without realizing it.  I think that the RSO activist groups have made this a much bigger US vs THEM thing than it should be. I hope that you are open to this conversation.  If not, please let me know immediately and I will cease and desist.  :)

I have no way of verifying if what you say is true, so I will just assume that it is.  What happened with your fiancee is horrible.  I have lived with a step-mother like that and have had similar abuses handed down to me from someone like her.  I understand your anger at her and I hope that you will eventually find forgiveness for her. I also hope the same for him.  However, forgiveness is absolutely NOT the measure of wellness.  Forgiveness is not necessary for recovery.  Quote all the stats you want, I am talking about me and my friends.  Say all day that anecdotal evidence is anecdotal evidence, but it's THE evidence we need when talking about this.  Numbers make no difference.  You should know this, as a victim of DV.

You have a lot of allies.  The reason you have a lot of allies is because you have a unique story.  The RSO activists are using you.  And they will use you all up. It's what they do.  You look at them with your eyes, without seeing them from the child they abused's eyes.  You need to change that.  You need to understand that, though your bf's sister may forgive and forget, there are many who can't for various reasons, and you have to understand that, though your bf may not be dangerous, most of the people on the registry are.

You have the NY RSOL page.  With this association, you are in bed with NAMBLA.  I am telling you this now so that if it comes up in your future, you'll know that you can't defend against it.  NAMBLA set up the original RSOL and I can prove it.

You can make your own way.  You can make your own group which ONLY deals with children on the list, alley-pissers on the list, and R&J cases.  You can make that little niche for yourself if you want.  I would personally support it.  I have supported a forum in the past in which RSOs were actually trying not to re-offend.  The co-moderator was a PO from FL.

Right now you are treading on dangerous ground.  You are in bed with NAMBLA and big child porn sharing groups.  I hope that you are not aware of this and that you are not knowingly going along with this.

I know you need support.  If what your videos say is true, you really need people who can help you.  People with whom you can unite to get rid of the stupid shit involved in the registry system, the tweaks that can help free your husband to be.  Otherwise, you are aligning yourself with pedophiles and narcisisists.  You will never have a chance.  You ever feel lonely?  There's a reason for that.  People don't want people messin with their kids.

So, no, that's not what your bf's thing was about, so why jump in bed with "real" sex offenders?

I'll stop now.

Hope you respond.

It's your decision.  It seems that you have already chosen a "side," but it is not too late to turn back now. 

I am opening this up as a conversation to you, so you can choose which way you want to go with this.  Your bf is clearly a victim.  IF a site like ours would have helped him, or would've prevented his shit of a mother from abusing other children, would you be for it then?"

Obviously, this was written by someone who has at least some grasp on the massive problems with the registry and that it is not merely a list of pedophiles and child rapists. This is someone who knows my story, and my fiancee's story. She has acknowledged, even, that he probably should not be on the registry. Yet she also has no problem promoting hatred, lies, and violence towards individuals very similar to him. Is this someone who truly cares about justice for children, or someone who has so much hate and intolerance towards anyone who doesn't share her views, she uses victims of sex crimes as justification for brutal personal attacks?

I do not know what type of response Ms. Dale Harvey was fishing for, but I gave it to her straight. I explained that I absolutely would like to see my fiancee's mother punished for her actions - but that her punishment would in NO way change what he was put through, nor would it help him in the tiring, lifelong fight to recover from what was done to him. Regardless if his mother was in jail, or even dead - he would still be the same struggling young man he is right now. As someone who cares for him and for others with similar circumstances, I choose to use my energy for constructive, forward-thinking purposes that will help people and prevent future crimes. A life driven by vengeance and intolerance is not one that I envy.

Evidently, this was not the response she was looking for. Within hours, she had posted links to my fiancee's registry entry, assertions that I was lying in my videos, and portraying my fiancee as a monster in response to several articles I had recently commented on:

Don't get me wrong. This isn't surprising or shocking. Frankly, I am wondering what took them so long. I have shared this only because I want to demonstrate that these people are masters at manipulating others into falling for the seemingly noble cause they claim to represent. It was all I could do to keep from laughing when I read the above post; maybe she thought I didn't know her pseudonym. She had already shown me by writing the email that she wasn't just a misinformed citizen trying to keep kids safe. She is on a personal mission that has nothing to do with children, victims or preventing sex crimes - they are nothing more than pawns to her and groups like Evil Unveiled.

How else do you explain her about-face in opinion of my fiancee? A poor abused child when trying to recruit me to join their cause, and a dangerous predator deserving of the death penalty when I decline? What a way to prove my point.

This morning, a friend sent me a link to one of the articles Ms. Dale Harvey (aka determined fiend) posted on. As of 9 AM, there were 115 comments. 115 comments inspired by me, even though I was not even involved in the "conversation". 115 comments, one of which accused me of starving my dogs. All I can do is laugh at the desperation, and the fact that a true advocate would not be wasting their time criticizing my dog ownership skills when there are so many big bad pedophiles that need to be arrested. Have you noticed anything funny yet? It's that the only response these people have to those who prove them wrong is name-calling and false accusations. It's because they know how misguided their approaches are, and they think making us look bad and putting the spotlight on us will make their failures less noticeable. Guys, we're not in elementary school anymore. Grow up.

Bring it on.