Friday, June 29, 2012

Killing a sex offender =/= protecting children

Recently several advocates and myself created a Facebook group called Campaign for Freedom. Fed up with the never-ending slew of hate, intolerance and ignorance that runs so rampant in our society towards sex offenders (at least what the public believes is a sex offender), we began to compile screenshots of some of the most vile offenders. Yes, I said offender.

Some of these comments are from random members of the public. Some of them are from groups that supposedly exist to "protect children". Regardless, they all share a disturbing sentiment: apparently, it's okay to destroy and torment families (including children) as long as it's portrayed as some kind of child safety measure. Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that many of these people claim to be Christian. To them, I offer a verse from Galatians: "A man who claims to love God yet hates his brother is a liar."

Feast your eyes on the musings of self-proclaimed child advocates and their ilk, and ask yourself if child welfare is truly at the heart of such comments. Ask yourself how many innocent families and children have to suffer before our society is brave enough to demand change.








Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jerry Sandusky never was, never will be a registered sex offender

I haven't followed the Jerry Sandusky case closely, but I read yesterday that he had been found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexually abusing several young boys. Although I don't think he had a chance to begin with because of the media coverage, it's good that his victims received some justice.

Ever since the accusations came out late last year, and especially in the past week, numerous articles, news pieces and blogs have popped up about the importance of "talking about it" - it being child sexual abuse, I suppose. I'm not complaining about that - talking about it is GOOD. Unfortunately, virtually everything I've read only talks about a piece of what needs to be discussed. If we ever want to have a shot at preventing abuse and protecting all children and not just some, we need to be willing to accept some uncomfortable realities.

None of the laws we have in place in this country could have prevented the victimization of Sandusky's victims. Residency restrictions? GPS monitoring? Facebook bans? Background checks? Child safety zones? Compliance checks? An updated photograph, home address, employment address, and vehicle description on file with law enforcement and available to the public? Didn't apply to him. The registry failed his victims, just as it continues to fail the majority of them.

An email I received from a fellow advocate this morning put it best, and I applied his words into an easy-to-share poster. Please show it to your lawmakers, law enforcement, family and friends. Doesn't our country deserve better?

Friday, June 22, 2012

I HATE sex offenders! What's a sex offender?

To say that maintaining this blog and advocating for registry reform is a magnet for criticism and outrage would almost be an understatement. If a day goes by without someone calling me or my fiancee names, insulting my intelligence or suggesting that everyone on the registry endure a horrific demise, I almost wonder if I haven't been working hard enough.

Myself and others in the movement often comfort ourselves by trying to remember that the average American citizen really has no idea what they're talking about when they open their mouth about sex offenders or the registry. And I mean really, why would they? How would they? The media only reports the worst of the worst - or if it's really a slow week, something scary-sounding like a "failure to register" or "violating the sex offender registry." Law enforcement gives the same robotic explanation every time they're asked about how to use the registry, what the levels supposedly mean, and reminding us it keeps children safe. Lawmakers routinely spout blatant fallacies about high recidivism and other myths when proposing tougher legislation.

Searching for and reading lengthy reports and studies about sex offender statistics, crime rates and other related material probably isn't one of anyone's favorite hobbies (except mine, of course.) But unfortunately, when what's described above is the alternative, it should be something you do occasionally. If not because you're interested in the truth or fair treatment or the safety of all families, then because you truly care about your own loved ones and will be better able to protect them. Note: I maintain a ~*HUGE*~ library of studies on the subject on my website, ESCAPE. And no, I did not "write" the studies. They are a compilation of federal, state, and independent outfits.)

So just for fun, I decided to give any dissenters or sex offender haters the opportunity to prove they have even a vague idea of what they're talking about. Answer as many as you want in the comments section...or, if you're an advocate, ask your family and friends for their opinions. (Center for Sex Offender Management did an actual study on public perception in 2010 - see the contrasts between that and reality here.)

1. What is a registered sex offender?
2. What impact has the registry had on re-offense rates and/or first-time sexual offenses?
3. Roughly how many registered sex offenders are re-convicted for new sex crimes?
4. What impact have residency restrictions had on re-offense rates and/or first-time sexual offenses?
5. True or false: most sex offenders have victimized children.
6. True or false: it's possible for children and juveniles to be convicted of sexual crimes and placed on the public registry.
7. True or false: Jerry Sandusky was on the registry and a background check would have prevented him from being in a position where he had access to vulnerable children.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cry child molestation, get away with murder

After the tragic events in Washington a few weeks ago, it was hard for me to get inspired to blog. There's not much worse than two brutal double-murders and the destruction of two innocent families. We are still reeling from these tragedies and Gary and Jerry will never be forgotten.

It's hard to NOT be aware of the story out of Shiner, Texas, however. A farmer supposedly caught a man molesting his 4-year-old daughter. In his apparent rage/attempt to stop the alleged molestation, he beat the man to death.

Without question, this story has received far more coverage than the murders of Gary Blanton and Jerry Ray, even though there were five children in total who lost their fathers in a particularly cold-blooded manner. And most of the stories discussing Gary and Jerry seemed to almost condone the killings, in the information that was released and what was not. Very little press coverage was devoted to the families of the victims. The local news station declined to air a brief piece on where people could send donations to the Blanton family for funeral and burial costs.

The rancher from Texas, however, has become a country-wide hero in a matter of days. Even so-called "Christian" blogs and forums have heralded the murder and declared it some sort of "victory for children." The murdered man is being referred to as a pedophile, a child molester, and even a child rapist - not just by the public, but in articles across the country. No one seems to care that a medical evaluation of the 4-year-old alleged victim revealed no sign whatsoever of a sexual or physical assault. It was noted that she was distraught emotionally - which likely was at least partly due to her witnessing a brutal murder at the hand of her father.

I will be the first to admit that if I saw someone harming a person I love, I would seek to put a stop to it immediately and effectively. I would be an emotionally-charged, adrenaline-fueled superhuman and I am sure my capacity for logic would be compromised at least initially. If this story is true, I certainly don't blame the farmer for his reaction. I don't condone murder, but I overwhelmingly support and understand the desire and need to protect a loved one.

"If this story is true" seems to be of little interest to virtually anyone, and that is what I find disturbing on so many levels. There is no evidence that any molestation or attempted molestation actually took place, but the murdered man - who obviously cannot defend himself - has already been found guilty. The farmer is already a hero. Not one of the people loudly protesting their support seems to realize that their blind acceptance of the farmer's story makes them fair game. Oh, sorry officer, I didn't mean to kill my neighbor/mailman/pastor/brother-in-law/son/father but they were molesting this child over here. I promise it won't happen again.

If a nondescript ranch hand from a small town in Texas with no criminal history can launch from unknown to evil villain overnight, who of us is safe? If we do not DEMAND that the justice system prove the murdered man's guilt, who will demand that for us or our families?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Please help Leslie Blanton, widow of murdered sex offender

My last entry was about the vigilante double-murder of two Washington registrants, Jerry Wayne Ray and Gary Blanton. I was outraged then, and I'm truly grieving now. I spoke with Leslie Blanton, Gary's widow several times on the phone, which was incredibly difficult and made the emotions even more real.

Leslie is a young struggling (now single) mother with two little boys. She needs help not just with funeral costs but with everyday costs such as bills and food, as Gary was the sole provider. She has no family in the area and Gary's family is not in the picture. The state, town and police are offering little support and on top of this, she is still facing harassment from the public.

For her safety, I will not be posting her address publicly. Please contact me at if you would like to send a card, a donation, or any items she may need (non-perishable food, kids/baby items, dry goods, etc.) Alternately, you may send a donation through Laurie Draper Jones of Georgia Rising here: Donations for Leslie Blanton.


Harper Ridgeview Funeral Chapel
105 West 4th St 

PO Box 340
Port Angeles, WA 98362
For Gary and Leslie Blanton

Thank you so very much for your compassion and please help us rally around Leslie and her boys and let them know that Gary's death was not in vain. This is NOT okay, and it needs to change.

Please note when and if we get information about Jerry Ray's family, we will post that here as well.

Leslie Blanton speaks out (news clip)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Every sex offender is somebody's son

This story out of Tacoma, Washington represents both my biggest fear, and the vexing fact that even in death, a murdered sex offender is just that and nothing more.

Most of the articles covering this story refer to Gary Lee Blanton and Jerry Wayne Ray as "rapists" who were "shot dead." As a fellow advocate said yesterday, "Animals are 'shot dead.' People are murdered."

He's right. If either of the two men had been virtually anyone else, or even had criminal convictions that were not considered sex offenses, we might not even hear about the shooting to begin with. But if we did, we'd hear about how they were gunned down in cold blood and left behind a wife and a mother and two children. We'd see photographs of a crying woman with her head in her hands and there would be quotes from friends and community members talking about what a senseless loss it was.

Instead, all the newspaper has to say is a copied-and-pasted description of their crime from the Camprall County sex offender registry. The only photographs of them are their mug shots. Readers from all over the country are lauding a deluded, confessed murderer for "cleansing the gene pool."

Whether you are a loved one of someone on the sex offender registry or not, no rational person can truly believe that a hate-driven double-homicide is A) okay, or B) protecting children. Anyone who does should probably re-evaluate their own contribution to the "gene pool." Even ex-cop Brian O'Neill agrees, in his surprisingly frank column, Blue Byline.

I have just one last thing to say, and that is that I refuse to live in a world where the person I love is advertised day and night for the rest of his life as a potential target for vigilante justice. Fellow family members, let's not wait until one of our own is stolen from us to restore our right to keep our families safe and secure, and let's pray for the families of Jerry Ray and Gary Blanton, for whom it is too late.