Thursday, February 8, 2007

Do young sex offenders belong on the adult register?

Great question poised by the Sex Offender Issues Blog. I'd be curious to hear what you think. Our ministry works with a lot of young sex offenders. I struggle with the answer to that - it depends on the hat I'm wearing - Dad or SOY Staff.

Please share your opinion by posting a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.


K.M. said...

Hi Shane
I happened to "wander" onto your blogsite and thought it was pretty cool to find another blogger-dad-christian-husband-apologetic-etc. can add one more to the "tens of readers" of your blogsite.

On the question of young sex offenders on the adult register, I think it is really tragic that such a term should exist in the first place! Citing the very first example on the originating website - what I wondered was what prompted the 13yr old to do what he did? Was it a "dare" task from his peers? Was it a prank? Was it a weakness in his flesh that he could not overcome?

I can understand the camp that argues that publicizing the offenders name is unfair given that he has already been convicted and paid the price. And likewise as a family-man I can also see where the other side is coming from, in wanting to establish a secure neighborhood for our families.

But does the register really solve the problem? What I would rather see is a greater effort to reach our youth to help them build a stronger sounder moral foundation in their lives, rather than bashing them up for society's shortcomings and not taking any responsibility for our failure as stewards of the future generations.
Furthermore, it would be much more fruitful to engage and invest in such needy peoples lives (I prefer needy, rather offender) to help them overcome their weaknesses. They probably already paid a heavy price in that for the rest of their lives they will have to live with the fact that they have a criminal record, that they did something wrong (if the system succeeded in making them realize so, that is!)

To remedy to treating an illness is not to kill the patient, but stem/eradicate the infection-causing agent.

Shane Vander Hart said...

Hi K.M.,

Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that we do need to see a greater effort in reaching our youth. I struggle with youth being placed on the register.

However, with adults I feel it is appropriate. The register is meant to protect kids. My wife and I recently moved, and we would check the neighborhood to see where the sex offenders were.

The register is necessary as many pedophiles are repeat offenders. Honestly I believe that the sentencing laws for adult sex offenders (pedophiles that is) is not strict enough.

I agree with you that there should be more focus on prevention, however when an adult has abused a child - a natural consequence of that sin is that they can no longer be trusted with children. To do so is a risk that I believe is not worth taking.

journey of the discontent said...

Hey shane. A couple things. I too struggle with this issue. I don't think adolescnets should be on the registry. I also have some major problems witht he registry in general. It doesn't seperate sexual predators from sexual offenders. It also perpetuates the problem of demagoguery that exists even in the language of your response to k.m. Pedophiles are adults who have sex (or are aroused by the thought of) with young children. (pediatrics, pado-batpism, etc.) also, look at the amount of sex offenders that fit this description. Very minimal. Then look at how many of these fit intot the category of predators. Even smaller. We have created a straw man to hate and burn. Lack of understanding on this issue is what brings about irrisponsible and misguided hatred of sex offenders. Don't get me wrong...I am not particularly fond of Sex Offenders, but have been battling my misperceptions for about 3 years now and have been enlightened by reality.

Sorry for jumping on your blog and disagreeing. I'm sure your a great guy and that I'd enjoy discussing a lot of these issues with you in person.

Shane Vander Hart said...

I agree that work needs to be done with the registry. For instance when men in their early 20s are placed on it for statutory rape when they have had consentual sex with their 16 or 17 year old girlfriend is one example. Also I believe their needs to be distinction between those who have committed offenses against adults vs. children.

I am interested to see where you get your statistics from. To be honest I haven't done much research in this area. I'm curious what in your opinion causes an adult to molest a child if it isn't due to sexual arousal? Also the likeihood of reoffense occuring was why the registry was created to begin with.

Also, I'm sorry, I lead ministries that work with kids. If you have abused a kid - you are not going to be around them in my organization. It may seem harsh, but my first responsibility is to the kids.

Don't worry about coming on and disagreeing with me. That is the beauty of blogs! :)