Please stop fear-mongering about sex offenders (was: Tell the Governor to Protect Our Kids)

Fiona,

  I really hope you will consider not pandering to the fears of voters on this issue. Did you know that some 700 registered sex offenders are being held against their will in Coachella State "Hospital" (really a prison) even though they have served out their full sentences? Did you know that some men have been forced to register as sex offenders merely for urinating in public, and a 19-year-old boy can be labeled as a sex offender for having consensual sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend? Women have been reported to child abuse authorities for taking photos of their young children playing in the bath. Some registered sex offenders have been murdered in prison due to their demonized status. When they are released, it is often very difficult for them to find places to live, due to public prejudice and the burdensome laws they must comply with.

  This sensationalist story ("49 registered sex offenders are living in California child care facilities!") is being trumpeted by the media without any solid details. How many child care facilities and RSO's are there in California (i.e. is this a significant phenomena, or a tiny percentage?) What are the backgrounds of these 49 individuals (i.e. what did they actually do to become labeled)? If any of them were actually convicted of sexual relations with young children, have they actually been living in proximity to kids at these facilities, or is it simply a case of an address matching in a database for who knows what reason? Is there any evidence of any real danger? Did they seek these facilities out as places to live, or were they invited, sent or assigned there by authorities? What living alternatives are available to them? Have you met with any of these individuals, or their families, friends, and loved ones, to get a personal feel for the people you are crusading against and those who will be affected by how authorities treat them? Have you bothered to seek the answers to questions like those above before demanding legislation? If so, I would like to hear the answers. If not, I think you have a responsibility to do so. There are already too many harmful, costly, and hastily conceived and laws on the books put there by politicians playing on overblown public fears. There's no honor in riding to popularity on such a crusade.

Sincerely,
        ((( starchild )))