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April 27, 2005

Time For Stronger Measures Against Sexual Predators

There was another Amber alert in Florida yesterday. Yet another little girl dragged off. Has this been the year of the sexual predator or are we just hearing about more offenses because of the alert systems and 24/7 news?

A child advocate on the Today show last week said the very minimum a parent should do is go online and print your local registry of sexual offenders. So that’s what we did, to pinpoint the locations of the offenders in our area. If you have children, do it today.

State legislatures and local governments need to stop wringing their hands and begin taking stronger measures to maintain control over those who have been convicted of sexual offenses. How many little girls must be prey to the hardened, repeat offenders in their neighborhoods before this horror is taken seriously and these people are intercepted, so they do not hurt more youngsters.

It is time for universal adoption of at least three measures: electronic monitoring, voice tracking, and chemical castration.

Electronic Monitoring: The offender wears an ankle bracelet, which sends out a radio signal precisely showing the exact location. The offender is only allowed to leave their home for specific reasons and at specific times. A monitoring company tracks their movements 24 hours a day, and immediately reports any deviation from the allowed limits to their Probation Officer.

An Ohio official is suggesting taking this a step further, and implanting GPS chips.

While Fox earlier had suggested the use of electronic ankle or wrist bracelets to allow for passive monitoring of offenders, on Monday he took the proposal a step further, calling for a plan of implanting computer microchips into offenders so that they can be tracked and located immediately.

"People have these GPS chips put in their pets and - in some case - in their children, in the event they are lost or kidnapped," Fox said. "I don't see why the same can't be done with probationees."
But Sheriff Richard K. Jones said it would first take an act of the state legislature to give courts the authority to order such implanting. Butler County currently has 296 registered sexual offenders, Jones said.

Jones on Friday launched a new program in which the sheriff's office is now doing random, surprise spot checks on registered sexual offenders to make certain they are living at the addresses they have registered with local authorities.

Voice Tracking: A monitoring company pages offenders periodically during the day and night. A voice recording from the offender has been used to create a computer template which is compared to the caller returning the page, preventing illegitimate callers from responding. Calls are automatically rejected from cellular phones or using call forwarding. The caller must call back within a specified amount of time, and the phone number they called from is automatically recorded.

Chemical castration

States need to implement and enforce hormone treatment for repeat sexual offenders. This is not a cure all, but it will help reduce or eliminate the sexual drive of individuals who cannot control where that takes them. Officials seem squeamish about this course of action. They need to think about the young girls who are raped and buried alive by hardened sexual offenders.

This Texas document discusses chemical castration:

Myth: "Castration cures a sex offender." Fact: Castration is not a cure. Castration only reduces testosterone levels and may be helpful in controlling arousal and libido. Physical or chemical castration should only be utilized as an adjunct to treatment and not in lieu of treatment. It should be remembered that deviant arousal is the physical response to a cognitive process (deviant thoughts). Deviant thoughts (impulses) and fantasies are precursors to deviant arousal.

Iowa is one of eight states that has implemented the treatment, but they have been lax in applying it.

The hormone therapy, called "chemical castration" by critics, is required for offenders convicted more than once of serious sex offenses as a condition of their release from custody. However, the requirement is waived when a judge or the Board of Parole determines the treatment would be ineffective.

The treatment is optional for those convicted for the first time of a sexual offense in which the victim was 12 or younger.

"We have done it, but it's very rare," said Gary Sherzan, director of community corrections in the 5th Judicial District.

Rusty Rogerson, superintendent of the state's sex offender treatment facility at Mount Pleasant, said the only time the treatment was needed there, a physician couldn't be found to administer it.

Officials say some physicians question the effectiveness or propriety of the treatment. Others are concerned about medical and legal risks, and about taking part in a procedure that is outside their medical practice.

Others have recommend extremely long prison sentences.

Whatever the cost, lawmakers need to act now to protect our children. What could be more important?

Posted by Jim at April 27, 2005 06:33 AM

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Tracked on April 27, 2005 10:08 PM


My feelings match yours Jim. However, I am a bit worried about option 3, as being a bit cruel and unusual. This is a philosophical position. At a practical level, I'm all in favor of it for a specific offender. However, at the general level, it concerns me.

Also, not to in any way attempt to limit the guilt or mitigate the punishment, but we still, as a culture, need to explore what role our objectification of sex and pleasure, along with our objectificiation of so many other things, including women, has played in generating the number of sex offenders we seem to have. In addition, the role of pornography should be explored. Too many want to foreclose such discussions, because they are more afraid of Puritanism than they are of sex offenders I suppose. Or perhaps they want to keep their porn and remain ignorant of the wider societal effects?

In any event, the larger cultural issues need to be debated if real progress on this issue is to be made. Just as with the death penalty and murder, stronger measures against sex offenders will not necessarily make for a big reduction in the numbers.

Posted by: Mark Sides at April 27, 2005 11:01 AM

Solutions like tracking will not stop the majority of sexual offenders who prey on children they already know. According to the child advocates I have talked to (my wife used to be one) it is most often the mom's live in boyfriend, the child's stepfather, a sibling, or some other relative that is responsible for the abuse. An additional common problem in these situations is that often the moms are in denial about the abuse.

"Has this been the year of the sexual predator or are we just hearing about more offenses" There is some evidence that the increase in cohabitation and remarriage over recent decades has increased the rate of molestation.

I think the best solution is increased prison sentences and increased funding for enforcement tools like investigators and advocates.

Posted by: pete the elder at April 27, 2005 11:23 AM

I dunno, a bullet to the brain tends to stop most sex offenders.

Posted by: SilverBubble at April 27, 2005 02:52 PM

Having four children of my own, this topic very emotional to me. I find pediphiles to be the most heinious criminals and we should take it much more seriously. It seems to me that the system seems to be leaning toward protecting the criminal and his right to be reformed. Although, I hope and pray that they can change and get right before God, I don't want to risk my children's saftey on it. Whether we like it or not, sin has a penalty here on earth and in this case I would say absolute trust loss for life is reasonable. The issue is what to do with it? Tagging them is good, but since they have lost all trust in society with no hope of regaining it, I think a better way is to place them on an island somewhere and let them live out their days in isolation but humanely. I realize that this is drastic, but since they can't seem to live by the rules of society and be trusted, they can go form their own under the U.S.'s care. With no hope of trust ever being established, I leaves little options in my mind: jail for life, death, or "the island".

Posted by: Jashar at April 28, 2005 10:10 AM


As to the heinousness, I completely agree. Segregation on an island won't work however, and it won't stop others from doing it. We've got to go beyond answers that only affect one person (although that is helpful as to that person's victims) and determine why our society is producing these people. One thing I would like to know is whether there are more incidences of this type of abuse than there were say 50 or 75 years ago.


Posted by: Mark Sides at April 28, 2005 03:35 PM

I agree that the island theory isn't the greatest, but it seemed to be the only. In theory, I agree that we need answers that go beyond affecting just the one person, but we can't legislate morality. Since America is heading down the road where it values not offending and licentiousness over self-control, accountability, responsibility, and morality, it leaves us to "treat the symptoms" rather than the cause which is a stubborn and rebellious heart before God. I would love for America to repent of these "values" that are infecting us as a cancer and humbly emplore the Lord to bring healing to our land. Unfortunately, that would offend someone somewhere :(

Posted by: Jashar at April 29, 2005 08:40 AM

This is a very emotional topic for me, as well, Silverbubble. I have two kids, and have worked in the prison system off and on for the last 8 years, and I have a really hard time when it comes to dealing with the sex offenders in a civil manner. I think we should send them to Iraq. :>
I feel so passionate about this topic, that I have headed up a 'Parent Patrol' at our school. There are just too many people that either don't realize that this is a growing problem, or they don't think that it will happen to them? I can guarantee you one thing, though; that there is no such thing as a 'reformed' sex offender. There are statistics that prove it, especially with the pedophiles. A friend of mine who works as a psychologist in the Department of Corrections said that they keep doing what they are doing becuause they like it. They are sick and warped people, not to be excused because of a chemical imbalance, or their parents did it to them. Increased prison sentences? Maybe.. but they keep changing the laws, allowing sex offenders that aren't classified as 'violent' to parole before their mandatory release date, and on and on. Definitely increased funding for enforcement tools like investigators and advocates. I wouldn't mind having my tax dollars going toward that. I really get on a soapbox about this, and am so grateful that you all are involved and informed. God Bless!


Posted by: Laurie at January 17, 2007 07:43 PM

This is also an emotional topic for me, now that I am expecting my first baby, I think about all the horrible things that could happen. Pediphilia is about the worst, in my mind. While I agree that pornography is a root, as well as self-indulgence and selfishness, I do not think that attacking the problem of pornography is an immediate solution, and for sure, an immediate solution is much needed right now! Pornography is a long term problem that may be impossible to solve in this society. If our supreme courts could recognize pornography as profane speech, and that profanity should not be protected under our constitution, then we have a chance at victory. It may otherwise require an ammendment to the constitution. But then we have to content with eliminating porn from the internet, which may be impossible to do 100% Besiedes, the porn industry has money, I think it is one of the most profitable industries in this country. And money = power + influence, which makes abolishment all the more unlikely. We would have to have A LOT of REALLY conservative people of integrity and character in the right places. SO, as for the three methods of immediate remedy for pediphiles (castration, GPS microchips, voice tracking) I am all for these. Even the island, sure. Also, in response to a previous comment, castration, I do not believe, is either cruel or unusual. Castration was quite common in socializations of history. And they used castration, not as punishment for crimes, but simply for a type of slavery. Eunichs, I believe, is what they were called. Of course, I think that was horribly cruel. But for pediphilia, hey, you abuse it, you lose it. Castration may take someone;s manhood away for the remainder of his life, but the violence done to the child remains for the lifetime of the child. The child is innocent. I believe the punishment fits the crime. Castration may not be the cure, or prevent pediphiles from abusing children in other ways, but it should defineatly be used in conjunction with the other remedies.

Posted by: Alliene at April 7, 2007 10:52 PM