Public sex offender registries good for one thing: inhibiting rehabilitation

By Sandy…..

The words on the email burned through my computer screen: “I’ve lost more conventions today. My business will not survive this and I don’t know if I will find a way to pay my bills. I have no choice but to try, though. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the fact that I have a woman that loves me, I would probably have ended my life today. Her love is keeping me going.”

I first became acquainted with Daniel last year. In desperation, he contacted NARSOL – Natl. Assc. for Rational Sexual Offense Laws — through our website when he, a person on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, became the victim of anonymous vigilante emails informing some of his most important clients of his registry status. His business is in total compliance with his conditions of registration, and, in spite of years of a law-abiding life and an excellent record as an honest, fair, and upright provider of a photo service at graphic novel and comic book conventions – which earned him the respect of every client he had — he lost many accounts due to the emails. They trusted him, his clients said, but they couldn’t afford the publicity.

There was nothing we could do, of course, but empathize and console, and I kept in touch with him. He held on to a few accounts and managed to add a few, and he was slowly, painstakingly rebuilding his business. In the few emails we exchanged over the past year, he was cautiously optimistic about the future.

Then on April 10, Trae Dorn at a blog called Nerd & Tie saw fit to publish the entire story again, giving a “reminder,” he said, that a registered sex offender was actually daring to run a business and earn a living. He named conventions that had employed Daniel. He gave Daniel’s full name and the name of his company, and he suggested that anyone who hired him was putting their clientele at risk of harm, a claim for which there is not a scintilla of evidence and is in fact contradicted by his former clients and the courts. Dorn even included a link to Daniel’s entry on the sex offender registry, something that the original, anonymous, vigilante e-mailer had also done.

Within hours, Daniel had received cancellation notices from virtually all of the accounts he had left. He faces bankruptcy; he is already dealing with disgrace and, even worse to him, the indignation of not being able to meet his obligations or to support himself.

As the email quoted above shows, he is desperate to the point of ending his life.

I was filled with equal parts fury and incomprehension. Why would anyone do such a thing? Could anyone actually believe that a person who has lost everything and is jobless, hopeless, quite possibly homeless, would be less of a potential danger and more of an asset to society than a person who operated a thriving business, had strong, solid connections to his community, and prided himself on his reputation?

The next day, Daniel sent me this: And two more conventions have dropped me just today. I have no more work for the rest of this month and only one convention toward the end of next month. Even so, the rest of the conventions I have will probably drop me, too. It’s just a matter of time now.” 

And then later the same day, he received this email message sent to him through his company’s website contact form: “just give up already Pedo bear” with a link to his public registration entry. Ah, vigilantes — they just don’t stop.

Our justice system demands two things from those who err. First, it exacts punishment. Secondly, it expects rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is measured by a turning from the errant behavior and exhibiting behaviors that benefit society – behaviors such as committing no more offenses, obtaining gainful employment, building healthy connections and relationships, and maintaining a good character.

Daniel did all of those things. Every single one. And then, in no more time than it took some vicious, cruel person to compose an email and send it, in no more time than it took a thoughtless, malicious, arrogant blogster to write and put up a gratuitous post – everything that Daniel did was meaningless. His years of work and effort, his reliability and his spotless reputation, were wiped out, destroyed, with a single sentence: “He’s on the sex offender registry.”


Daniel and NARSOL are being interviewed as part of an NPR special series about the consequence of our society’s current approach toward the management of those convicted of sexual offenses. We will have follow-up posts as they are needed.

20 comments for “Public sex offender registries good for one thing: inhibiting rehabilitation

  1. Randy
    April 20, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    My own personal experience has been pure insanity. I confessed and signed a plea deal as a 1st time offender back in 1998. Throughout my ordeal I was found not to be a sexual predator. While serving my time I mailed the probation department of the county I was to be released to concerning employment restrictions as I was choosing classes for my Associate’s degree. I never received a reply so I chose HVAC. I graduated summa cum laude and was able to work 6 months in the field when probation yanked me out of there, declaring that I couldn’t do any residential work. I moved to my State’s capital and within a year was offered a position making 6 figures a year for a commercial HVAC company that were well aware of my criminal background and restrictions. Probation refused because I would be traveling with the company to various locations 2-3 weeks out of the month. My skills and knowledge stagnated and I found minor success here and there at unsavory small factories.

    I always kept up with all requirements and was to be removed from the registry after 3 years which then got upped to 10 years due to State law then finally for life and added svp status as my offense made me one, “by operation of law”. I have been burglarized and harassed all the while the police and prosecutor in my small town have refused to carry out their duties and even allowed the burglarers to leave with items from my garage. The burglarers were out of state relatives of my wife’s and came back that same night taking my elderly father in laws’ Van. Prosecutor refused to extradite and they were released with the vehicle halfway home to their state.

    I was arrested when same relatives said I was living in my home while I was not supposed to, I was in compliance however and staying 2 days in my home and splitting the other 5 days between a friend and siblings home. The case thrown out when a Judge ordered sheriff to allow me back in the home since as a svp I was indeed allowed to reside at home with my wife and 3 children. I was seeing that Judge to seek removal from registry when my lawyer pointed out that if prosecutor was restricting my residential using “offender against children” rules then my registry requirement ended a couple of years back but if I’m an SVP then there isn’t such a restriction in my case so I am by law allowed to live at home. Judge refused removal saying we had to hire psychologists and take tests at my expense before hearing arguments that I’m no longer a threat. I had been off any paper except registry since 04 and this was in 2014.

    Meanwhile throughout all of this, my wife’s ex husband left State after numerous harassments such as DCS (or CPS) calls saying I was abusing his daughter. Investigated 4 times and the allegations proved unfounded. Seven years go by and he suddenly shows back up calls DCS again with allegation investigated and my stepdaughter telling them I have never abused her and that the ex is just causing drama again. The ex got a job working with my wife then told everyone about me and my past even printed up my registry page to show around, posted it on Facebook and generally hurling insults and begging ppl to help him get rid of me. Showed police and they say it isn’t harassment just him being annoying.

    Needless to say, he is a dead beat dad over 60000 in back support owed with a body attachment order on him, still not arrested but wife did talk with her boss and he was told to stop the work stuff. We never withheld his visitations with his son and daughter but since he left 7 years ago he’s not been in contact other than 2 messages promising he is going to get me out. Wife now had this Facebook profile shut down (3rd one).

    Bottom line for me is simply, when is enough enough? This treatment is beyond punitive. I will continue to live my life and prove the haters wrong but the depression and stress is too much for me to handle for the rest of my life. I hope and pray that someday I’ll be truly free to drop off, pick up and attend after school activities with my kids. I’d love to vacation or visit more than my home state without worrying about checking in with every law enforcement agency in order to see the Statue of Liberty or take my kids to Disneyland. But I seriously doubt the laws will change. Meanwhile I’ll try to keep my head above water and keep in mind that my past mistakes do not define the man I am today.

  2. Maestro
    April 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I’m a convention vendor also. I’m a bit confused by the mention of conventions “hiring” him. As I know it, conventions rent table space to vendors…unless he’s there as a guest…(???)
    Anyway, I’ve been a video vendor at conventions since I was 19 yrs old back in the early 1990’s. And when my offense happened in 2005, I was out on bond and still going to the conventions. I was close with the convention organizers and they all know about my situation. And I’m STILL a vendor at all their shows. Just did one in Ohio last weekend. I’m curious to know what type of jerkweeds are running these conventions he was going to as MOST convention organizers are not 100% clean of a background record. One of the conventions I attend in NJ which is HUGE and very well know, is staffed with lots of drug addicts (be they current or former) and some have records.

    • sandy
      April 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      I am sure any confusion is due to my not properly conveying the situation in what I wrote. Yes, Daniel and his company were vendors offering the service of their photography at these conventions.
      We are thankful that you are more successful with your endeavors.

    • Lin
      April 20, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      That’s very interesting, Maestro. Maybe there’s a way you could contact Mr. Silverman. I know nothing of these conventions or how they operate, but it seems someone would oversee who’s allowed to rent space. I don’t know; I just know that what Trae Dorn is doing so wrong on many levels. Of course, he’s patting himself on the back for the great job he believes he is doing.

      I read an article that talks about “busybullies” and Mr. Dorn fits the description to a tee.

  3. Peter
    April 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    After reading about Daniel and what that idiot Trae Dorn wrote about him I got to wondering how many skeletons Mr Dorn has in his closet. And not just him but anybody else that does the same thing. When I read stuff like this it really gets under my skin. I hope Daniel can recover his business. Peter

  4. NH Registrant
    April 18, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Government policies hurt people more than they help people. Whether it be war, weapons dealing, tax breaks for the ultra wealthy, allowing corporations to run rough-shod over our way of life, sending billions upon billions in aid to countries that neither want it nor deserve it, and our current out-of-control police state, both state and federal policies harm nearly all of the population of America. States put forward Orwellian double-speak about how they are protecting children with the draconian sex laws. But, yet, millions of children suffer from their policies. Tens of thousands of kids are homeless. Even more have the food taken from them when the government cuts school lunch programs to hand the money over to their criminal friends who donated money to their campaigns. Children are given harmful vaccinations that are purported to cause autism and other maladies. And their war policies murder entire families of children overseas while stealing thousands of parents from children in our country as they are sacrificed on the battlefield to feed the never satisfied war machine which devours lives daily.

    What is at the base, the very root, of all of this suffering that is caused by our out governments, whether they be local or state? Greed and power. Simple as that.
    – Why does war exist? Greed. It feeds the billionaires who invest in it.
    – Why do families starve when their assistance is cut? Greed. It allocates money back to the politicians’ wealthy donors.
    – Why do sex offender laws exist that only serve to harm children and families while being put forward under the lie of being meant to protect the children? Greed. It feeds the ever hungry Prison Industry which is a direct part of Law Enforcement, which is a direct part of the War Machine. Why do you think that those weapons of war find their way so easily into our police departments? It’s all the same industry. Look at Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. Look at any of the footage of the inside of the building. Every part of that facility can be found in any American prison or county jail. It’s all the same industry – no matter if it’s private prisons or state prisons.

    How can we stop it? I really don’t know. The money has to be taken out of it. But, the public is too brainwashed into believing that sex crimes happen every minute and that every man is after their children for evil purposes. Men don’t even dare help children who may be lost or in need because of the propaganda-lies-driven hysteria that infects everyone around the globe makes them a person under suspicion. It has to end somehow. I just don’t know how.

  5. In Search of Liberty
    April 18, 2017 at 10:40 am

    But people, Inhibit Rehabilitation, Banish, Disenfranchise, Stigmatize/Scarlet Letter, Emasculate & Destroy Families is what the registry was designed to do. These laws were built as a mechanism for post-incarceration punishment—plain and simple. And the federal courts for the past 15 or so years have basically said “So what they are Unconstitutional, there are sex offenders, the worst of the worst and this is what the people want so we are going to uphold these laws anyway…” That is until Does v. Snyder out of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. A court that had the balls to set the record straight and say the magic word “PUNISHMENT” and rule MI Unconstitutional! State and federal legislators know these laws violate Ex Post Facto (when applied after conviction & sentence), Due process, both Substantive & Procedural, when a person is not given notice, cannot confront his/her accuser, cannot defend himself in open court against charges. You can also include denial of Equal Protection and Cruel and Unusual Punishment as well. But again, these laws were made to continue punishment post-incarceration and hide under the guise of “Civil” regulation. Some real slimy stuff don’t you think? And as to Does v. Snyder, I can’t wait to see what SCOTUS is going to do with this request for Certiorari by the Michigan AG. This is going to be interesting. a) Do they deny Certiorari and let the 6th Circuit ruling stand, b) do they grant Certiorari, uphold Snyder and piss off probably 90% of America, or c) do they grant Certiorari, overturn Snyder and condemn all RSOs in America to the S#@T holes of life. Because everyone should know that if ‘c’ happens what just about every state legislature is going to do, [yes, the same thing they did after the 2003 Smith v Doe ruling uphold the Alaska registry/registration with that lie (Frightening and High residivism) Justice Kennedy put out there] start passing all manner of draconian restrictions for RSOs. I would not be surprised if a few states (FL, GA, NC, LA maybe TX) didn’t come up with Nazi style concentration camps for RSOs. Stay turned.

  6. Al
    April 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I can empathize with Daniel, as I ,too, am self-employed. I run a small, one employee, woodworking business in my town. The only way that I was even able to accomplish that was to move to a completely different state and begin to start my life over.
    As a result of my poor decision to commit my crime, I, too, lost everything. Family, friends, business, reputation, means of income, etc. My education is pretty much worthless now, and as those in power would like me to believe, am I.
    I pleaded guilty, served every single day of my sentence (10 years), and as a bonus, the state of Iowa saw fit to tack on to my class C felony charge, a LIFETIME SPECIAL SENTENCE, complete with matching LIFETIME SORNA REGISTRATION. The “Special Sentence” now entitles me to live the entire rest of my life on parole supervision. Even though my original sentence was only 10 years. What a bonus! (I don’t live in Iowa any longer, but remain on my “special sentence” in my new state.)
    In addition to my business, I started a related “Outdoor Flea Market” event, twice a month, which started out well. It was growing, and prospering every month, having at it’s peak approximately 40 vendors participating.
    Of course, that was until someone decided that I didn’t deserve success, and started posting my information and status on Facebook and other social media, and going around during the event “notifying” my vendors and customers that the event was run by a sex offender. (God Forbid! Your children might be in danger!)
    Within the next 2 weeks, my market fell completely apart, every single one of my vendors had left. in addition, print media stopped returning my calls for ad space, and then to top all that off, the local sheriff’s office was following up on “complaints” related to my market (which were all determined to be completely unfounded, and a complete fabrication).

    I suppose that I am still lucky to be able to run my woodworking business. That is, of course, until someone else decides that I dont “deserve” to do that either.

    As with a lot of others in this situation, my story doesn’t end there… no… This example is just the tip of the iceberg…

    If this was done to anyone else, or any other group, it would be clear cut discrimination, vigilantism, hate speech, bullying, or whatever name you’d like to put on it.

    It had better end soon, because as a group, we as individuals, can only take so much abuse…

    • Lovecraft
      April 17, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      I believe we need people like you and Daniel that have real life proof at what the registry has caused for you (punishment) for the doe v snyder if taken by the scotus (which I believe it will be) We need to not only hammer home the facts about recividism and debunking the frightening and high crap, but how the registry punishes us long after our crimes. In the end examples like what happened to you and Daniel show that it only takes one person to undo a registrants entire business. The bottom line is there are far too many citizens who do not use the registry for its intended purpose and it is far to easy to abuse. Many people just arent responsible enough to have access to it period. Either scotus needs to grant us special protections as a group or no longer make the registry public.

      • Fred
        April 19, 2017 at 8:41 am

        We need to hammer home how these laws are not just harming the registrant, but the family members of the registrant as well, by subjecting them to the same level of scrutinity, and as in this case, hampers the ability to support ones family. They can claim all they want that the registrant is getting what he or she deserves, but how do they defend creating victims out of that registrant’s family members? I think that argument needs to be brought up more.

  7. Lin
    April 17, 2017 at 11:36 am

    While really none of this is funny, I can’t help but snicker at the high and mighty, Trae Dorn. I also posted comments – none contained any profanity, threats or bullying – and they were also deleted. He, apparently, isn’t even accepting of grammatical correcting either since he deleted my comment of his English error regarding the word “was” vs “were”. He lives in his own little self-protected environment and believes himself to be some kind of hero….ppppfffftttt!

    I just have to wonder….how will he delete all of the comments on NPR???? Hahaha!

    I’m curious if he has been invited to NPR as well?

  8. Stand Up
    April 17, 2017 at 10:13 am

    There is only one way to deal with this. One needs to sue those for defamation and harassment. Trae Dorn has been sued twice before for that very thing. The community needs to start a legal defense fund and go after those that have clearly crossed the line. Pick ones that don’t have money to defend their actions and start to make it clear, we as a community can defend ourselves.

    Also we need to start to petition local law enforcement to file charges whenever we can in relation to violations of anti harassment laws.

    Yeah, I know, someone will bitch and moan and say it is useless. Keep your comments to yourself. If you can’t advocate self defense then I have no use for you.

    I might also like to have the contact info for people who dumped him, so that I can call and ask that they support him. Companies need to know it is safe to do business and that not everyone will have a knee jerk reaction.

  9. Rajendra
    April 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I don’t know when this nonsense will end, but I have this naive hope that the registry and the unfair laws will end soon.

  10. William Gratchic
    April 16, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    I can appreciate Daniel’s position. If my health wasn’t as bad as it is, I would be in his frame of mind. As it is, I am trying to help those like him while still here. People just won’t reason things out. They’ll accept all kinds of violent people who are professional athletes but attack average people who got caught up in this disgusting form of profiteering by the judicial system.

    The real pedophiles are the elite and politicians and it is evil and extensive but those bloggers could care less. I wonder how they would survive if attacked similarly.

    To date, the hypocritical police institution will not go after the real providers of this internet sewage, as in much the same way they will not go after the big pushers of illicit drugs. I hold very little respect for them.

    Hang in there Dan. Keyboard gladiators are the weakest and most cowardly form of vigilantes. They try to incite others to do what they are too cowardly to try.

  11. Chris
    April 16, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    If NPR posts the interviews online, would you mind posting a link to them? I would very much like to hear or read them, as I suspect many others would.


    • sandy
      April 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Yes, I am sure they will. They will definitely be posted and included in any updates I write. Thanks.

  12. david
    April 16, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Really, in my opinion, if one wanted to avoid problem contractors/employees weed out the ones with alcohol convictions. That’s speaking as someone who once had a severe alcohol problem.

    • david
      April 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      …but that wouldn’t be fair, would it?

      I managed to quit alcohol 14 years ago. Within 2 years i was self-employed. Until i got set up in an online bait and switch. Now i’m washing dishes….

      Still sober tho. And that’s what’s so frustrating about being convicted of a sex crime- you are not allowed to move on. It’s like if your dog pooped on the floor when he was a puppy…and you rub his nose in shit every day for the rest of his life.

      • sandy
        April 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm

        Well now, gross as it is, I like that analogy.

  13. Lovecraft
    April 15, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Those of us on the registry can completely relate to his perilous journey attempting to make a meaningful life for himself. Most of us fear even attempting what he has done out of fear of the exact things that have happened to him.

    As for myself, even though im highly educated i dare not attempt to seek employment at any business related to any of my degrees. Instead I have relegated my services to family members and buying and selling things I can flip online such as ebay. This, at least in my mind, keeps me fairly safe from having to deal with things such as what Daniel is dealing with.

    Im fairly new to the registry so maybe in time things will change or i will be able to deal with it better. I just hate feeling like im selling myself short because im on the registry. I know im not a bad person, just someone who made a bad decision with what I downloaded and im certainly not beyond rehabilitation like they like to label all of us. Most of us had jobs, girlfriends, relationships, social networks etc before we started doing what got us into trouble, we were people once…and we still are, but not to a great many presently.

    The last point I want to make about this article is that marginalizing people NEVER makes things safer. In fact when you put individuals such as ourselves into a disfavored group not based on empirical data or any type of reasonable scientific scrunity you put the public at our mercy not the other way around. Now I want to say upfront I am not suggesting or supporting any type of violence or criminal activity, but the simple fact stands. If you have everything taken from you and have virtually no way to get most of it back what kind of life do you expect someone to have if he has nothing and has no better tomorrow. Im honestly surprised the non sexual recividism rates arent sky high for our exclusive group. Maybe that is the most telling of anything…..if we were that bad as a group as the powers that be advertise, the non sexual recvidism rates would be sky high.

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