Restore sex offenders? No, policy makers prefer them dangerous

By Sandy…

Published in the Washington Examiner 11/25/2016

Ten years ago, Jeffrey Roy shared a bottle of vodka and played video games with a fourteen-year-old girl in his basement. The two engaged in sexual activity. When her father’s concern for her whereabouts led him to the home, she told him and the police she had no memory of the incident.

Jeffrey was sixteen. He was sentenced to five years, most suspended, and put on probation and the sex offender registry for ten years.

The first few years of his probation, with its stringent sex offender restrictions, were difficult for Jeffrey. But he got it together and did what we hope for every teenager: He grew up.

According to all sources, he made a remarkable rehabilitation, earning him the approval of his community, peers, and elders. For the past few years, Jeffrey has run with his father, Jim, in the Tarzan Brown Race sponsored by the YMCA in Mystic, Conn.

This year, when Jim went to register, Jeffrey’s registration was rejected. He was flagged for being on the state’s sex offender registry.

Many in the community appealed to the YMCA, citing his reputation as a young man who made a stupid mistake, paid the penalty, learned his lesson, and turned his life around.

One of the other runners reviewed YMCA policy and pointed out that the language allows discretion in the matter. The CEO and executive director of the foundation, which manages 40 races a year including this one, said she had never heard of a runner being banned from a race for being a registered sex offender. Beth Schluger of the Hartford Marathon Foundation said her organization doesn’t even screen runners for being on the registry.

The Ocean Community YMCA, however, citing safety as a primary concern, held firm. When the race was run Nov. 6, neither Jeffrey nor Jim, who has been a participant in nearly all of the 40 previous Tarzan Brown races, were among the runners.

Why was this decision made? Was there any actual fear that Jeffrey’s presence created an element of risk or danger to anyone? The other runners? The observers? The YMCA officials?

If rehabilitation and re-entering society as a law-abiding citizen after punishment for a crime is the objective, Jeffrey could well be the poster boy. What message does his rejection send to those who commit crimes, serve their punishment, and then become law-abiding citizens?

Do we let them know we appreciate they’ve turned their lives around? Do we show our pride in them for overcoming their earlier faults and choosing to go forward as contributing participants of community and society?

Or do we slap them down, giving them no incentive for being rehabilitated? Do we tell them, by our words, actions and judgment that they might as well remain hoodlums, criminals, and sex offenders because they will never be forgiven?

It’s easy to blame the YMCA, and they should be doing some soul-searching for this arbitrary decision, as well as some contemplation of the word “Christian” in their name. Jeffrey ran in their race and in others for several years with no negative consequences to anyone. There was no reason to deny him admission this year.

The true culprit, however, is the publicized sex offender registry. With no empirical evidence showing public notification of any safety benefit to society, it serves one purpose: To impede the law-abiding registered citizen from moving forward with his life. It allows entities such as the YMCA to exclude those for whom there is no reason to exclude.

It serves only to tell those like Jeffrey that no matter what you do, it will never be good enough. It removes the goal of rehabilitation from the justice system, leaving its only goal punishment.

The loss is to communities and society at-large. The loss is that of young men like Jeffrey who, rather than being welcomed as participating citizens, are treated as pariahs and told in no uncertain terms that they are not allowed among us.

8 comments for “Restore sex offenders? No, policy makers prefer them dangerous

  1. Rajendra
    November 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Those in the Registry need to organize a similar race to raise awareness,

  2. david
    November 26, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Not sure why this young man was convicted of a sex crime to begin with. 14 and 16?

    • Maestro
      November 28, 2016 at 12:53 am

      David,

      Because that’s the state of Connecticut for you. When a District Attorney here sees a chance to get a conviction, that’s what they’ll do.

      What’s truly troubling me here is all this nonsensical jargon about “rehabilitation”. Rehabilitated from what, exactly? From being a typical teenager whose hormones are throbbing and getting a hold of alcohol like most of us did back in the day? So….he’s supposed to be rehabilitated from being a 16 yr old…..several years later?

      I get why we use the term “rehabilitated” even in cases that should never have been cases to begin with… for the POLITICAL CORRECTNESS of how it sounds and to use it as bait to win the sympathy of the public. The public should be told flat out – DO YOU ALL REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE TEENAGERS? And that’s that.
      And unless these grown men and women who are in fear were all raised in caves with parents that never let them out of their sights, then you’ll see a LOT of hands go up when you ask “How many of YOU got hold of alcohol and wanted to have sex with your high school sweethearts when you were teens?”

      Hypocrisy in this country is at an astonishing level of HIGH. I’m sick of it. And I’m sick of the people writing these articles in a fashion that’s aimed to be pleasing to the reader. How about a more realistic approach like John Stossel saying “Gimme A Break”!!

      • sandy
        November 28, 2016 at 7:08 am

        Maestro, thank you for your input, and, yes, I agree that rehabilitated is a term that is only loosely applicable to the young man’s actual incident — although the parents of most teenagers will most likely attest that just being a teenager requires rehab! While we want to discourage teenage drinking and early sex, making it a criminal offense is definitely overkill.

        I was actually going for the broader picture there as it applies to those who commit sexual crimes in general. What research shows we need to do as a society to optimize a healthy lifestyle in the community is not what we do.

        Thank you for reading.

      • david
        November 28, 2016 at 11:46 am

        My thoughts exactly Maestro. Rehabilitation? For what? Did the young man have a drinking problem? I don’t see any so-called “sexual deviancy” in this young mans behavior. He was 16 and the girl was 14. Perfectly normal.

        Looking at the big picture….yes, totally absurd. Shame on the gutless wonder who decided to ban Jeffrey from running. I hope Jeffrey can put this behind him because he never deserved any of this.

      • Where is Hamilton Berger when you need him?
        November 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

        Most parents are only parenting the way they were taught to parent (or whatever website they refer to for parenting info). Not condoning that because only some of it carries forward in time with applicability while other times there are more modern ways to parent. They also are projecting their own life instances and fears (as noted here) onto others which does absolutely no good because it is usually counterproductive in modern times.

        This was a DA making a name for themselves obviously. If you refer to the CT age of consent law and how it can be applied, this was a misapplication of law. There are several websites that come up when CT age of consent is entered via a search engine, but it seems 16 is the age with a 2-3 yr age difference allowed, e.g. 16 and 14 is approved – http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/connecticut-age-of-consent-lawyers.html

        The key factor here should have been the alcohol, not the sex, and where did it come from, etc. Using it as a tool is what lead to this most likely. Had there been no alcohol, this probably would have been a non-starter due to CT law. This guy ought to look an appeal, if possible, this conviction with the sex grounds being tossed for inapplicability.

        As for the YMCA, all about the insurance, their good name and nothing more. It is ok to toss one man aside for the greater good – so Christian of them in the name of the good book.

        As for the registry knock – yes, same song different day – it needs to go.

        • Maestro
          December 4, 2016 at 5:26 pm

          I think I know how they decided to make this a “sex” case issue even with the ages being ok – In any sex offender treatment group, it is made known that sex offenses can also occur between CONSENTING parties when alcohol is involved as they’ll tell you that (even if both are adults) a consensual decision cannot be made while under the influence.
          In which case, a GOOD attorney would have thrown this entire case right back in their faces by saying: “Well, your honor, the state says that the alleged victim in this case cannot give consent while under the influence of alcohol. Since both were under the influence, she’s as guilty of sexually assaulting him as he seems to be of sexually assaulting her”

          THAT would have raised a few brows to say the least and would have left the court tongue tied.

  3. Don Campbell
    November 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Jeffrey and his dad should have run bandit in the race anyway. The races are usually on public roads and they could not have stopped them.

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