When Should Someone Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

U.S. Supreme Court may come up with an answer based on case from our region.

When should people have to register as sex offenders?
When should people have to register as sex offenders?
Sex-offender registries, well intentioned but with some faults still being ironed out, have been around in various jurisdictions at least since 2006, when the U.S. Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act.

In many jurisdictions, changes were made after college kids caught urinating outdoors were charged with indecent exposure — landing them on sex-offender registries and all the Google searches that go with it. 

Other cases are more complicated, like the one involving a  24-year-old swimming instructor who had a sexual relationship with a male student younger than 16.

The woman was convicted in Virginia in 1993 of unlawful sex with a teenager and served 30 days in jail. Fifteen years later, the state passed a new law that reclassified her and thousands of others as violent sex offenders. The woman has challenged the law, and now her lawsuit is on the agenda of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Courts in Georgia and Ohio have already ruled that sex offender laws in those states have gone too far, which brings us to a question: 

  • Under what circumstances should people be required to register as sex offenders?  Tell us in comments below.
Jean Harlow March 26, 2014 at 02:47 PM
Hitler knew that if he created hysteria and used "if it saves one child" mentality, he could do away with those he felt were inferior. Our government is doing the same. You feel that someone who was convicted of a s*x crime, they don't deserve rights. That the safety of the public trumps their constitutional rights. What if the government said that all blacks were a danger to society, that we need to register them all? What about GLBT's? What about party affiliations? Demonizing one group of people, is wrong! Other criminals (including murderers) are able to move on with their lives after they complete their Sentense, yet registrants are the ONLY group that is demonized for LIFE! We are seeing more and more innocent people having this label placed on them, that everyone soon will know someone on the registry. Enough is enough! We are supposed to be a civilized county, yet, we still haven't learned from our mistakes from our pasts about treatments on others. I am standing up! I am fighting back! I want to PREVENT abuse before it starts and offer those who made mistakes a second chance. Give those who want it, access to treatment before a child is victimized!
Steven Spiegel March 26, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Jean I don't know what to think about it anymore . While you have made some excellent statements I would still rather have 1 child saved then worry about grown Men who have done the unthinkable harassed . Do you realize that my wife has been effected by this her whole entire life ? It don't just last a few weeks and these kids forget it is a life long battle and if they don't get the proper help they either become homosexual's / Drug addicts/ and also many commit suicide or go on to repeat the behavior . I bet any amount of money everyone here that are protecting the convicted are either convicted of it themselves or they have loved ones who have been harassed because they are convicted . I don't believe that people should be on the registry because they pissed on the sidewalk . Or they were 17 and had a girlfriend who was a few years younger perhaps they should have to sign a wavier with the under aged ones parents . Or maybe you should only be able to look in if you are a real estate agent or a policemen I don't know im sure there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed on the law but the bottom line is if they keep there nose clean they would have nothing to worry about . I am no angle and have had been addicted to drugs a good part of my adult life thank god I have been clean for over 10 years know and I can safely say I never stole from no one and worked for all my addictions and I never molested a child or cussed at my parents . I married a lady with 6 kids and when we got together her daughters were above puberty age and I never entertained the thought of sex with them I am know the only father that they have because there father is up on Martin Luther King BLVD Pan handling for heroine money . I also raised her son and he know is my labor and right hand man for my business . The law was to inform people of the potential predators in there area and if it prevented 1 child so far from being preyed on and Molested then it out weights the fact that a few were picked on . After all we are supposed to protect our children not our criminals . The children are our future not our molesters . What has this world come to when we worry more about the rights of our criminals then protecting our kids? Not one person who has complained about this registry has came up with a viable solution to help the kids and change the registry at the same time. As far as family molesting there children that is partly the parents fault because when my kids were babies up until they were out of high school I watched them . I never allowed them to spend nights over peoples homes that I didn't know for many years . We have to use better judgment on whom we leave alone with our children .!!!!
Jean Harlow March 26, 2014 at 04:10 PM
I watched over my children too, but it didn't prevent the abuse. You say that to protect ONE child, that it's better than protecting the rights of a criminal. That's the issue. The registry ISNT protecting any children. But it does have unintentional consequences that affect the spouses, children, parents of those listed on the registry. You made wrong choices in your life, and got addicted to drugs. You turned your life around, and living an honorable life. But those convicted of s*x offenses are not allowed that same liberty. You say no one has proposed a plan that will protect children and change the registry, yet I have! Leave the registry to be available to LE ONLY. Then offer prevention services and education, that will prevent children from being harmed. Yet, not enough people are speaking up and demanding our law makers to work on prevention services that will decrease the # of victims. Since the registry has been made public, the numbers haven't decreased at all (I believe they have increased, but don't know that for sure). I'm tired of media & politicians lying to us, saying the registry will protect us, when it does nothing of the sort. The media lies so they can get ratings or sell papers, politicians lie, because they want to be re -elected. I have no reason to lie! My benefit is leaving a legacy that I was able to protect families from living this nightmare. As a parent, I understand your protectiveness. But we have been told to look for the monster hiding in the park bushes, waiting to strike, when in reality, they are people we know and trust with our kids, but are struggling with a battle beyond themselves to control without help. When you were addicted, were you able to kick your addiction on your own, or were you able to seek help? If you sought help, if you knew you would be prosicuted for using illegal drugs, would you have sought help? You have to admit, it makes sense. If it makes sense, then I emplore you to talk to your legislators to change the system and implement treatment programs for those who seek help if having devient thoughts.
Buck Harmon March 26, 2014 at 04:28 PM
Wow, this thread seems to have taken on some therapeutic writing qualities...glad to see it..
rwsmom March 26, 2014 at 07:18 PM
Steven: You sound like a very honest and compassionate man. I applaud you for all you have done for your wife and family. That's honorable. I stand behind your sentiments about who you leave your children with and knowing who they are staying over night with, as I am the same way. I protect my children to the point they often got mad at me and despised my decisions. That's why it was so very hard to see my son convicted and handcuffed in a court of law. You see, the young lady lied about where and when this supposed "offense" took place. I KNEW where my son was and that he couldn't have possibly harmed her....he was at work, at a place behind our home. I could literally see his car! Yet, she got away with her lies and law enforcement never checked his alibis. Nor did our defense attorney think it was pertinent to bring alibis in his defense because she felt the jury would see through the young lady's lies. You asked a question, " What has this world come to when we worry more about the rights of our criminals then protecting our kids?" that I would like to answer. I am concerned for our nation's children. ALL of them for many reasons. Yes, I don't want harm done to a child any more than you do. Do you realize that 39.6% of all sexual crimes reported are accusing perpetrators who are under the age of 18? (10% of those are under the age of 12) Do you realize that more children are neglected, murdered and abused in any given year than they are molested? WE could safe our children from prosecution, neglect, murder AND abuse with the monies that are wasted on the registry. It's called education and family support. THAT's where our time, money and resources need to be spent. Again, your opinions matter to me. Together, we can all make a difference.


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