NARSOL envisions effective, fact-based sexual offense laws and policies which promote public safety, safeguard civil liberties, honor human dignity, and offer holistic prevention, healing, and restoration.
NARSOL will promote laws and programs:
• limiting registry access strictly to law enforcement agencies;
• terminating registry requirements upon completion of a court-imposed sentence;
• reversing retroactively applied restrictions;
• reforming civil commitment processes;
• re-humanizing, rehabilitating, and reintegrating former offenders;
• increasing public safety by reducing sexual offenses; and
• reducing acts of discrimination, hatred, and violence directed at sexual offenders.
• promote laws targeting harmful acts rather than entire classes of people;
• promote limiting registry access to law enforcement agencies only;
• support removal of residency and proximity restrictions against registrants after their court-imposed sentence is satisfied;
• support litigation and legislation which remove or prevent retroactive increases in registration requirements and restrictions;
• advocate to limit post-prison civil commitment strictly to extraordinary cases where the state proves that the person presents a danger to the community;
• promote treatment of civilly committed persons with the goal of reintegration back into society;
• advocate for review and removal of currently committed persons who do not meet the dangerousness criteria, without imposing an additional financial burden on those persons;
• promote laws which replace lifetime supervision/parole with a system that includes ongoing assessments for termination of supervision;
• encourage fair and balanced trials, proportional sentencing, reasonable statutes of limitation, and the elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing;
• discourage discrimination, violence, and vigilantism toward those accused or convicted of a sexual offense;
• seek out and support programs which effectively reintegrate and rehabilitate former offenders;
• seek out and support programs which effectively prevent new sexual offenses through intervention and community education; and
• promote healthy, trusting human interaction by replacing fear and panic with solid facts and reason.
• Sex offender registries were originally presented as a means for tracking persons convicted of the most heinous offenses, but their reach has expanded exponentially to include even teen sexting and consensual relations between young people; (white paper)
• Public registries provide no measurable protection for children or the general public yet endanger the well being of children and family members of registrants; (white paper)
• Public registration, proximity restrictions, and residency restrictions that are extended beyond an individual’s sentence are punitive and thereby violate protected constitutional rights; (white paper)
• Evidence-based policies and programs can reliably reduce new sexual offenses and thus make our communities safer; (white paper)
• The misinformation and stigmatization used to justify harsh sexual offense laws undermine the welfare of society, creating unnecessary panic and distrust; (white paper)
• Choosing to set apart any group of people and deny them civil, constitutional, and human rights threatens the rights of every person in our nation.
History of NARSOL
narsol.org is the website of a campaign by National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws. The campaign grew out of an effort in the late 1990’s by a Boston group of civil libertarians, educators, and other professionals who were concerned about a growing panic justified in the name of protecting children from sexual violation. This panic was generating ill-conceived laws that were eroding civil liberties, common sense, and normal social interactions. After more than a year of regular discussions, the group initiated a formal call to protect both our children as well as our liberties. It was signed by more than 100 Boston-area professionals. The Call was intended to generate further discussion about the real dangers posed to children and substantial attacks on the civil liberties of American citizens.
In 2006, some of the original signatories became concerned that the problem had worsened and began to circulate a revised document. In July 2007, Paul Shannon, a long time peace and social justice educator in the Boston area, published his article entitled It’s Time to Reform Sex Offender Laws: An Urgent Call to Support the Well-being of Children and the Rights of Us All in the online newsletter Counterpunch, and Reform Sex Offender Laws was officially born.
One of our founders, “Alex Marbury,” had been among the founders of NAMBLA many years before, although he had left the organization prior to the launch of RSOL. While some see this past connection as a liability, his knowledge of the members of that organization proved invaluable during our early years, as he kept a special watch to make sure that no NAMBLA leader publicly signed our Statement. “Alex” chose to use a pseudonym to further disassociate his advocacy with RSOL from his earlier one. RSOL was founded and continues to focus on post-conviction treatment of persons convicted of sexual offenses. It has never taken any stand regarding age of consent.
RSOL, Inc. existed as an incorporated organization, and continued to grow in its influence. RSOL adopted a set of Bylaws, a statement of vision, mission, and goals, a set of key assertions, and elected a board of directors as well as several working committees which move along its established agenda. RSOL’s annual conference continued to expand its influence with each additional year. It has affiliate organizations in a growing number of states. Lobbying and litigation by these affiliates has proven extremely effective in several states, while lobbying at the national level remains an important goal.
In the late 2016, in an effort to eliminate the use of the phrase "Sex Offender", RSOL became NARSOL (National Association of Rational Sexual Offense Laws). With the same mission and goals of RSOL, NARSOL continues the fight to bring change to the oppressive sexual offense laws under a different banner.
There is much reason for hope. We see and hear a greater number of legislators, journalists, and media sources, both at the local and national level, questioning and disputing the accepted myths that are the basis of today’s failed public registry. We have witnessed some promising judicial decisions in several states. We firmly believe that our hopes for substantial change aren’t far from a tipping point as more and more individuals, especially juveniles, are forced to register for behavior that was socially acceptable even less than 20 years ago.
We look back at our past and reflect on our history with immense pride. We embrace the promises the future holds, a future where a single transgression no longer results in a lifetime of loss in human dignity, respect, and fundamental rights; where those who are falsely accused may find true justice; and where those who have taken responsibility for the harm they have inflicted on others might discover again the hope for meaningful redemption.
A final note: NARSOL. has always been clear about its fundamental mission and goals. It welcomes all who share these goals to participate in the organization’s work. NARSOL neither endorses nor condones the totality of beliefs held by anyone who chooses to associate with its work. It specifically embraces only such beliefs that form the basis of the organization’s work and which appear in our vision, mission, goals, and assertions. To that end and as clarified above, NARSOL has no previous or existing relationship with the organization known as NAMBLA – nor has it ever developed or maintained any such relationship. Neither does it have any relationship with any other group espousing sexual relationships with children.
Board of Directors
Jon R. Cordeiro
Jon is national Director and Founder of New Name Ministries in Fort Worth, Texas. Since 2005 he has been pioneering child abuse prevention through community safe residential reentry for former sex offenders in our nation. Jon is a graduate of Victory Bible Training School, a former Graduate Peer Consultant for Supervised Community Treatment of Portland, Maine, and is ordained in the state of Texas through Apostolic Servant Ministries. He has served as a volunteer chaplain for Gideons at the Maine Correctional Center and was involved in the development of the Sexual Violence Collaborative of Southern Maine. Jon provides “Sex Offender Sense” educational presentations as well as consultations on residential reentry development and church policies and procedures for integrating former sex offenders. Jon is passionate about social reform to America’s justice system and is co-author of UNPRECEDENTED: How Sex Offender Laws Are Impacting Our Nation. He and his wife Cynthia have a grown daughter, as well as numerous spiritual sons and daughters. Jon serves on the executive board of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice and was elected to the NARSOL National Admin Team in June, 2012.
Brenda Jones | executive director
Brenda has been involved in this cause since September of 2009. She started by looking for support but quickly saw the magnitude of the pain and despair faced by others affected by these draconian laws. When a high-profile murder in Maryland sent lawmakers scurrying to pass tons of tough-on-sex-offenders laws, Brenda dove in headfirst and, as she says, “I have never looked back.” Most of her spare time now goes into her work with NARSOL’s Maryland affiliate, Families Advocating Intelligent Registries, and as the Executive Director of NARSOL, a position she has held since 2012.
Dolley has served on the NARSOL admin team since 2012. Originally holding steadfast, conservative views of what should happen to those that disobey the law, she soon discovered that basing a person’s level of risk or likelihood that they will commit a new offense after completion of the sentence is based more on associated stigma-like ideology than evidence-based research. After experiencing this firsthand in working with offender populations before and after the inception of the public registry, she has remained dedicated to volunteering her time to sex offender registry law reform. Throughout her career, Dolley has continued to work with both victims of sexual abuse and former offenders. She maintains the belief that if the lawmakers, media, and public understood this complex issue, they would support more effective policies. Dolley has been an advocate of law reform since 2007 and has been involved with both national and local advocacy endeavors. Dolley uses a pseudonym in her advocacy work for the protection of her family.
Peter Marana is a dedicated member of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, and as such is well versed in the ins and outs of sexual offense advocacy, lobbying, and reform. His and his wife’s interest in the subject stems from their son’s involvement in an online “sting” operation. Peter’s business and professional qualifications and experiences are wide and varied, including legal degrees. He is currently helping with a database project for Texas Voices of published articles and studies covering SO issues. Given his personal commitment to reforming the laws covering sex offenses and his experience in managing both an employer association and benefits administration company, Peter looks forward to making a genuine contribution to the efforts of the NARSOL.
Larry Neely | treasurer
Larry Neely serves on the Board of Directors of Liberty and Justice Coalition, our New Mexico affiliate, and is currently employed as a paralegal. In addition, Larry contracts with the law office of the New Mexico Public Defender (LOPD) as a SORNA expert. Larry was previously employed by a New Mexico non-profit organization where he gained many years of experience working in the legislature advocating for a variety of causes. Larry has assisted other states in developing their advocacy networks, including Maryland and Nebraska. Larry provided substantial assistance to Nancy Forster, a Maryland civil rights attorney, as she spearheaded two successful challenges against that state’s registration requirements. Larry has provided writing and research to attorneys in others states regarding registration challenges and testified as an expert witness in others. Most recently, Larry assisted a Georgia attorney in overturning a conviction in a habeas corpus proceeding.
Joseph Michael Owens
Joseph Owens is an attorney located in the Nation’s Capital who has successfully litigated numerus cases both in State, Federal and Military Courts. He has served in the United States Army and the Innocence Project. He has successfully litigated multiple sexual offense cases. One of his special interests is creating awareness of some of the unfair sentencing practices that permeate our interests, and it is in this arena that he hopes to be of the most benefit to our board and our organization.
Sandy Rozek | secretary
Sandy became involved with NARSOL through Texas Voices, our Texas affiliate, and Mary Sue Molnar, its Executive Director. She was seeking answers as to what to expect when a family member was charged with sexual misconduct and given ten years’ probation. When she was asked to join the Minutemen, an NARSOL project focused on writing article comments and letters to editors, she did, and in that position she was forced to educate herself as thoroughly as possible. Sandy was appalled by the breadth and scope of ignorance about virtually every aspect of sexual offender issues. As her family has a history of intra-familial sexual abuse going back at least three generations, she felt she had a unique perspective on the issue. Sandy admits, “I am far from an expert; I learn something new almost every day. However, one thing I know beyond any certainty: whether from the victim’s perspective, from the offender’s perspective, or from a more neutral perspective as an uninvolved member of society, the public registry is most emphatically not the answer to anything, no matter what the question is.
Paul Shannon | chair
Paul was born in Boston in 1947 and has lived all his life in the greater Boston area. For almost all of his adult life he has been an activist, writer, and speaker in various peace, union, prison reform, human rights, and social justice movements, particularly the United Farm workers’ union drives, the Vietnam anti-war and solidarity movements, the movement to end apartheid in South Africa, the 1980’s Central American and Cambodian solidarity movements, the Haitian solidarity movement, and the Afghanistan and Iraqi anti-war movements. He is past editor of the Indochina Newsletter and is a member of the program staff of the Northeast Region of the American Friends’ Service Committee. In 2012 he was a coordinator of a Massachusetts statewide campaign to place the “Budget for All” public policy question on the ballot in 90 cities and towns across the state. The question called for a federal budget that reduced Pentagon spending and ended high income and corporate tax breaks in order to fund vital public programs like housing, food, social security, Medicare, etc. and to invest in jobs in renewable energy, manufacturing, and transportation. He continues as a coordinator of that project in addition to organizing opposition to U.S. war policies in the Middle East. He has been teaching social science courses at a number of colleges for 38 years. In the late 90’s, Paul helped organize a broad coalition for all day hearings to oppose the original sex offender registry and lifetime civil commitment legislation in Massachusetts, and in 2007 he was a founder of Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) and now he is currently co-chair of the NARSOL Board of Directors.
Robin William van der Wall | vice chair
Robin is a registrant residing in his home state of North Carolina. Since 2009, Robin has served NARSOL in various capacities: 1) Editor-in-Chief of the Minutemen, 2) inaugural chair of the Legal Committee (now SLAP), 3) organizing facilitator for the Committee of Electors, 4) Chair of the By-laws Committee, 5) custodian of the By-laws, as adopted, and 6) parliamentarian for the Admin Team on which he has served since 2010. Robin spent more than six years in the Virginia penitentiary after being convicted of computer solicitation (law enforcement sting operation). Prior to his conviction, he was active as a professional political consultant on a number of state and federal campaigns. At the time of his arrest in 2003, Robin was a third-year law student at Regent University School of Law (Virginia Beach) and was scheduled to receive joint degrees in Law and Political Management the following Spring. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. From 1993 to 1997, Robin was president and publisher of the Citizen, a weekly tabloid on politics and culture published in Raleigh, North Carolina.
We recently re-organized to better support our “boots on the ground” and also to more accurately present where we have connections. The list you see here shows only established, incorporated state organizations which have expressly agreed to affiliate with NARSOL in its efforts to reform sexual offense laws. Many other states also have groups and individuals who work with us, but those names can change frequently. If you do not see an established Affiliate in a state you’re interested in, please contact us directly and we will get you in touch with either a state-level volunteer, or with a Regional Coordinator (see map).
If you are part of an active state organization that is not listed here, please consider affiliating with us! Of course we are always on the lookout for state-level Contacts and Advocates. Check out our Volunteer Page for more info.
Arkansas – Arkansas Time After Time
Colorado – Colorado Advocates for Change
Colorado – Coalition for Sexual Offense Restoration (CSOR)
Connecticut – CT for One Standard of Justice
Florida – Florida Action Committee
Illinois – Illinois Voices
Maryland – Families Advocating Intelligent Registries
Michigan – Michigan Citizens for Justice
Michigan – Coalition for a Useful Registry
Nebraska – Nebraskans Unafraid
New Mexico – Liberty and Justice Coalition
North Carolina – NCRSOL
Oklahoma – Oklahoma Voices
Address: PO Box 462, Catoosa, OK 74015
Texas – Texas Voices for Reason and Justice
Address: PO Box 23539, San Antonio, TX 78223
Vermont – Vermonters for Criminal Justice