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'Sex offender' label makes no distinction
Dallas Morning News ^ | 10/02/06 | Emily Ramshaw

Posted on 10/02/2006 1:28:40 AM PDT by Qwertrew

Mr. Hernandez is the first to tell you he's no saint. He's got a hefty juvenile record. He cursed and spit at police when they forced him – wearing nothing but boxer shorts – from his girlfriend's bed.

< snip >

Mr. Hernandez and hundreds of young men like him are casualties of Texas' zero-tolerance sex offender registration laws. Despite low-level sex offenses, they're cataloged as perverts, as monsters, by a system that paints most sex criminals with the same broad brush.

An 11-year-old who fondles a 10-year-old classmate could be forced to register as a sex offender for a decade. An 18-year-old who's more than three years older than his girlfriend could spend a lifetime on the registry for having consensual sex with her.

And once they're on the list, these young sex offenders are virtually boxed out of society – unable to find jobs and housing, and trapped in a vicious cycle of evictions, registration violations and more jail time.

After years spent making Texas' sex offender registration laws some of the toughest in the nation, legislators acknowledge some unintended consequences. They're working to design better risk-level assessments to help police departments distinguish between sexual predators and high school boyfriends. And they've passed legislation to allow some young offenders with negligible recidivism rates, particularly those in consensual-sex scenarios, to be removed from the registry.

< snip >

In 2001, after a lobbying effort by parents of young sex offenders, the state added a so-called "Romeo" defense, one that gives sex offenders under 19 who had consensual sex with someone 13 or older the chance to seek deregistration from the state. If the "victim" doesn't agree the sex was consensual, or if the offender has more than one conviction or adjudication, then the offender must remain on the registry.

(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: ageofconsent; ageofconsentlaws; almostlegal; culturewar; romaljulietlaws; statutoryrape

1 posted on 10/02/2006 1:28:41 AM PDT by Qwertrew
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To: Qwertrew

Hmmm, thinking about my brother, who was 18 when he married his 14-year-old girlfriend, because her mother threatened him with jail time. They had a fairly happy marriage, until same mother-in-law moved in with them 22 years later and made their lives a living hell. He was no predator, but more likely just kind of stupid.


2 posted on 10/02/2006 1:32:52 AM PDT by Qwertrew (If a man says something in the woods, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?)
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To: Qwertrew

Is this a pro-Foley article?


3 posted on 10/02/2006 1:34:06 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

It presents the predator-as-victim stance....it IS the DMN, afterall.


4 posted on 10/02/2006 1:36:29 AM PDT by Qwertrew (If a man says something in the woods, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?)
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To: Qwertrew
It presents the predator-as-victim stance...

Not IMHO. I'd consider the 16-year-old boy caught diddling his 15-year-old girlfriend as being a completely different situation than if he were a 36-year-old man with the same 15-year-old girl.

5 posted on 10/02/2006 1:47:37 AM PDT by Bob
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To: Bob

I don't believe there IS such as thing as predator-as-victim.......but try convincing MSM of that.

Everyone is a victim of something. EX: I have a friend whose 19yo daughter throws tantrums at the least little thing. I was told she suffers from Intermittent Explosive Disorder. I guess I should be more sympathetic....I myself suffer from Seasonal Nordstrom/Saks Effectiveness. It causes hand and arm tics that lead me to search for my VISA card.


6 posted on 10/02/2006 1:53:27 AM PDT by Qwertrew (If a man says something in the woods, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?)
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To: Bob
Also in the article:

On his worst days, Andre Perez wishes he could do the same. As a child, he was sexually assaulted by a man in his church. As a difficult and developmentally stunted 12-year-old, he touched his 5-year-old sister's genitals with his own on a few occasions.

Mr. Perez's sister reported the molestation three years later to her Garland elementary school teacher. At 16, Mr. Perez – a sometimes runaway with major behavioral problems – was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a minor and sent to a juvenile detention facility outside of Austin.

Five years later, he had a GED and a healthy dose of optimism. But sex offender registration made his life "near impossible." No one would lease him an apartment; he spent two years bouncing between extended-stay motels and subletting rat- and roach-infested units. He lasted two semesters at Collin County Community College, until classmates found him on the sex offender registry and vandalized his car.

Employment options were no better. Business owners routinely ordered him off their property after conducting background checks. And he lost jobs at Blue Bell Ice Cream and Discount Tire when bosses and colleagues learned he was on the sex offender registry, he said. Humiliated and hopeless, Mr. Perez ignored registration requirements and fled Texas last fall for Illinois, where he moved in with relatives.

"It was the first time I ever felt like I was living a normal life," Mr. Perez, 24, said in August from behind a Plexiglas wall in a Houston detention center.

By April, he'd been caught and sent back to jail in Texas to serve several more months for a sex offender registration violation, a state jail felony.

7 posted on 10/02/2006 2:01:59 AM PDT by Qwertrew (If a man says something in the woods, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?)
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To: Qwertrew
Also in the article:

On his worst days, Andre Perez wishes he could do the same. As a child, he was sexually assaulted by a man in his church. As a difficult and developmentally stunted 12-year-old, he touched his 5-year-old sister's genitals with his own on a few occasions.

I'd have to admit to having mixed thoughts regarding the lifetime designation of sex offenders. I think that the main distinction that I tend to draw is between acts done between kids and those done by an adult to a kid. In my mind, they're two very different situations.

8 posted on 10/02/2006 2:29:01 AM PDT by Bob
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To: Qwertrew
Perhaps we could resolve the entire issue if we could describe them all as "dead sexual offender".
9 posted on 10/02/2006 2:38:14 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: Bob

Its a tough one, isn't it? On the one hand, I'm glad my brother was forced to stare down the barrel of a shotgun....my husband probably would have done the same thing if it had been our daughter. But should he have been labeled a sex offender for it? Should confused and angry kids, battling pre-adolescent craziness, have to fight this kind of stigma? The Romeo Laws are going to be hell to draft.


10 posted on 10/02/2006 3:01:33 AM PDT by Qwertrew (If a man says something in the woods, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?)
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To: Caipirabob
Perhaps we could resolve the entire issue if we could describe them all as "dead sexual offender".

That's my basic solution.

Our society moved into an "anything goes" attitude and when parents raise children in that manner, then the children do not develop an ability to make sound judgements. That's a real shame. But, if society has clear expectations for moral behavior, and if everyone understands these expectations, and if violations are punished harshly, then (in time) the only folks who actually do the wrong thing, will be the dangerous folks who cannot control themselves.

In short: victims of real sexual abuse are punished severely by their abuser. The number of victims of sexual abuse is higher than the number of perpetrators. Having sympathy for perpetrators only increases the problem. A harsh response is better for society.

11 posted on 10/02/2006 3:57:12 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: Qwertrew

Well there is no argument about needing to put REAL sex offenders (meaning those who are most likely to re-offend) into any registry, state or federal.

The age of consent in many states (not all I believe) is 16, which is still 2 years under the age of recognized adulthood (18). Seems to me that if a standard were applied which specified that IF the MINOR (minors only now) victim of any sexual offense were 5 years (or more) younger than the perpetrator, than entry into the registry would be mandatory for no less than 10 years.

That means that if anyone 22 years or older has illicit sex with someone 17 or younger, they would be put into the registry. IOW:

Victim Perp
17 ----- 22
16 ----- 21
15 ----- 20
14 ----- 19
13 ----- 18

Any sexual offender under the age of 18 would be adjudicated as either eligible for entry into a sex offender registry based upon the decision of the judge, after considering all input and data from both the prosecution and the defense (and jury, if applicable).

Or, we could just shoot them all.


12 posted on 10/02/2006 4:08:39 AM PDT by mkjessup (The Shah doesn't look so bad now, eh? But nooo, Jimmah said the Ayatollah was a 'godly' man.)
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To: Caipirabob; All
Perhaps we could resolve the entire issue if we could describe them all as "dead sexual offender".

This kind of statement, which is an example of the dark side of FR, is a perfect illustration of why the registration of sex offenders needs an overhall. A guy gets drunk and pisses in an alley and the local yokels here want to castrate or kill him, and all the politicians start talking about how wonderful the registration system and the restriction on where this guy can live and work for the rest of his life is to 'protect the children'.

13 posted on 10/02/2006 5:18:19 AM PDT by Northern Alliance
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To: mkjessup
The age of consent in many states (not all I believe) is 16, which is still 2 years under the age of recognized adulthood (18). Seems to me that if a standard were applied which specified that IF the MINOR (minors only now) victim of any sexual offense were 5 years (or more) younger than the perpetrator, than entry into the registry would be mandatory for no less than 10 years.

A lot of European countries use a system like that, and it is under debate in Canada, where the age of consent now is 14 (for girls) - I think it is younger for boys.

14 posted on 10/02/2006 5:26:18 AM PDT by Northern Alliance
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To: Bob
I'd consider the 16-year-old boy caught diddling his 15-year-old girlfriend as being a completely different situation than if he were a 36-year-old man with the same 15-year-old girl.

So it's the vintage of the penis that determines statutory rape, not the act itself with an underage female?

There's a lot of addled thinking and confusing standards from state to state, sometimes even within a state.
15 posted on 10/02/2006 6:32:00 AM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: Qwertrew

When the law starts making exceptions for people who sell to people who are near the age to buy alcohol or cigarettes and for people who are "nearly innocent" of other charges, I'll believe that Romeo & Juliet exceptions to statutory rape laws mean something.


16 posted on 10/02/2006 6:37:01 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: Bob

A 36-year old with an 18 year old (or 17, which is age of consent in Texas) would also be a "completely different situation".

Condoms in schools was never about safety in sex. It was about winning the sex positive argument that teens would have sex. The sex positive proponents believe that everyone should be sexual at every age; they believe it is a birthright to happiness.


17 posted on 10/02/2006 6:39:24 AM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: George W. Bush

"An 18-year-old who's more than three years older than his girlfriend could spend a lifetime on the registry for having consensual sex with her."

If she is not the age of consent, then she, by definition, is unable to consent. So the above-mentioned "consensual sex" is bogus.


18 posted on 10/02/2006 6:41:52 AM PDT by August West (To each according to his ability, from each according to his need...)
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To: August West
Agreed. We need clearer standards and we need to communicate those to young people. The girls need to know they might ruin their lovers' life by having sex with him. And we should probably introduce a practice of keeping records on girls who consent to sex with older men as well, something that cannot be expunged at the age of majority. And the boys need a clear idea of what is legal and what is not. And these Romeo laws are a bad idea, chipping away at the age of consent.

Let's say you have laws that a girl can consent at 14 only if her suitor is less than five years older. Then a girl who is one day short of her fourteenth birthday has sex with a young man on his nineteenth birthday. He becomes a sex offender. If they had waited one more day, no one could have done a thing.

I think that police and parents should be free to file statutory rape charges against any male (or female) having sex with a girl under the age of 18. It's a simple rule, one you could communicate to young people.

These laws should also apply to underage boys with adult female or male partners.
19 posted on 10/02/2006 6:55:10 AM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: Qwertrew

In my neighborhood, there was a registered sex offender, now age 22. He recently moved and did not re-register, I just noticed this on the DPS registry.

At age 14, he raped a five year old. He received two years probation since he was a juvenile. Excuse me if I don't cry a river over him. Since he moved, and hasn't reregistered, I think it might have been better if they just tattooed a big CR for Child Rapist on his pimply forehead..since the authorites, and my neighbors have no idea where the creep is now residing.


20 posted on 10/02/2006 7:08:37 AM PDT by sockmonkey
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To: George W. Bush

While we are at it, I'd recrimminalize "homosexual" activity; what they do does not fit under term "sexual activity" (as there is only one sex present). Since they are mentally ill, they also cannot consent.


21 posted on 10/02/2006 7:09:01 AM PDT by August West (To each according to his ability, from each according to his need...)
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To: Qwertrew

There must be a lot of femanists involved because by the new definition, all males are sex offenders. I played doctor with the girl next door when we were about 6 years old. Today I could easily be on the list, for life. So would every male I've ever known.


22 posted on 10/02/2006 7:20:52 AM PDT by DungeonMaster (More and more churches are nada scriptura.)
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To: Bob

While visiting some friends in a remote area, I heard them complalin that a guy "next door" was a registered sex offender. They said he had an affair with an under-age girl some years back. They didn't know exactly when or the circumstances (ages) involved.

When I noted that he lived almost 800 yards next to the nearest house and lived miles from the city, I asked where that guy should live. What should be done?


23 posted on 10/02/2006 7:27:38 AM PDT by Loud Mime (An undefeated enemy is still an enemy.......war has a purpose.)
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If two 14-year-olds are having sex, why is it only the male who is a sex offender? The male was unable to consent as well, so BOTH should have the exact same punishment.

Of course, laws regulating sex based on consent are flawed anyway. Legality of sex should be on the simple basis of whether the couple is married or not.


24 posted on 10/02/2006 8:22:25 AM PDT by Luke-Jr
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To: Qwertrew
As I see things, there ought to be one age for consent for all. And IMO, it should be in the low teens (13-16). I'm sure many will think the age too low. However, as I see it, making the age of consent too high gives too many parents a false sense of security regarding the sexual "safety" of their children, especially their daughters. Because of this perceived safety, many parents don't fully explain/teach their children about sexual desires and mores until after they reach the age of consent.

To put it another way, risk is a virtue. Many parents see no sexual risk for younger adolescents, believing statutory rape laws will protect their child. Thus they let their children out unsupervised, hoping the threat of the law will save their daughter's virtue, when it is their responsibility to do so. But because they perceive the risks minimized due to statutory rape laws, some abdicate their responisibilities, handing matters over to the state for "after the fact" punishment.

25 posted on 10/02/2006 11:21:52 AM PDT by Unknown Pundit
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To: Qwertrew

Most people didn't read the whole story. 2 of the 3 persons in the story are repeat offenders, they should be treated like any other repeat offender.


26 posted on 10/02/2006 12:12:34 PM PDT by amigatec (There are no significant bugs in our software... Maybe you're not using it properly.- Bill Gates)
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