On The Sex Offender List…For a Dog Euthanasia

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Hi Folks — It’s Lenore here, from Free-Range Kids. So why am I posting about a sex offender and a dog? It’s sort of a long story, but it boils down to this:

At Free-Range Kids we LOVE safety…we just don’t believe that our kids are in constant danger. Lately, though, a lot of society has decided they are. That’s why, for instance, many schools won’t let the school bus drop a kid off at the bus stop unless there is a PRE-APPROVED GUARDIAN waiting there to escort him or her home. Even if the parents say, “It’s ok! I trust my kid to walk a block!” — no dice.

That same kind of fear of everyday life has come to pervade many adult-child interactions. The idea being: WHY does this adult want to be around a child? PERHAPS HE’S A PERVERT! In this state of panic, our country has passed laws that have little to do with keeping our kids truly safe and lots to do with suspicion of adults. Particularly egregious is the Sex Offender Registry. Instead of it listing adults who pose a big threat to kids, it is littered with people who did things like peeing in public, or going to a prostitute. You can get on the list if you’re a high school senior, age 18, and you sleep with your freshman girlfriend, age 14. Here’s a great article about the whole mess. 

And here, at last, is the article about a man on the registry for coming to help a neighbor with an ailing dog.It’s from 2010 but I just saw it today. And wept.

I feel the way this guy looks.

 

 

 

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58 Responses to “On The Sex Offender List…For a Dog Euthanasia”

  1. #1 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Great to see you here, Lenore; I can’t think of a better person to relinquish the “distaff chair” on the Agitator Guest Blogging Council to! :-)

  2. #2 |  UvalDuvalCuckoo | 

    So it really seems like it was a total railroad job by the county if we take the wife at face value (and I have no reason to doubt what she’s saying). Are there any ‘other sides’ version of the story, just curious how the county or prosecutor is justifying this – (I only mean the words they’re using, I know prosecutors railroad people all the time)

  3. #3 |  tarran | 

    It’s not just a prosecutor – it’s the system.

    I was a witness in a preliminary hearing for a indecent assault that I’m 99.999% sure didn’t happen.

    The detective from the PD was up-front with the defense attorney that there were holes in the accuser’s story that made no sense.

    Yet the case almost went to trial – despite the accuser telling three different incompatible stories on the stand all of which were contradicted by some bit of evidence.

  4. #4 |  terraformer | 

    2 major points to make clear here.
    A) He pled guilty. I don’t care that his arm was twisted, he pled guilty. He stood up in court and, if the wife’s story is to be believed, lied to the court and admitted there was sufficient evidence that he committed the crime.
    B) He pled guilty. He has ZERO recourse unless he can prove to a judge (who don’t like to be lied to) that he was coerced into said confession (and the coercion needs to be more than a long felony sentence) or his counsel was ineffective.

    Any judge looking at this will see it’s clear that the guy could see how weak the case was as twice the people didn’t show up to hearings. I don’t have too much sympathy for people who take these deals. I think ADAs are no better than scumbag criminals for offering the deals and not using their brains in trying to ascertain truth as their oath’s require, but when people don’t stand up for their rights and think the government will do it for them, they are the problem.

  5. #5 |  Jennifer Merck | 

    I was wondering about ineffective counsel as well. My husban is a lawyer, and I am a social worker. I have always believed that most of the time, our justice system ferrets out the truth. This story makes me so sad, because it seems that so many people did not do their job well. If they all do their job well, I think things tend to work as they should. At this point, their only recourse might be pursuing their lawyer for malpractice.

  6. #6 |  Dustin | 

    Really terraformer? So he’s supposed to risk life in prison to satisfy you? Would you REALLY take that option? Would you risk the, admittedly small, chance of spending your life in prison if you were in that situation? Is this man supposed to take on the government, risking his entire life. What purpose would that serve? What risks have you taken recently in service of these lofty ideals? You’re so eager for him to take a bullet for your revolution, what have you done in service of it?

    In point of fact, he plead ‘no contest’ not ‘guilty’. That means he did not admit guilt, but he didn’t contest the charge.

  7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

    It’s not the system, it’s our sexually irrational and paranoid culture. Essentially, the justice system can do whatever they want to sex offenders because society considers them fair game. People who don’t subscribe to the sex hysteria are too intimidated to speak up. And that style of winning by intimidation is fast becoming THE strategy of choice in almost all matters of politics. While the First Amendment protects (some of) your right to free speech, actually exercising that right doesn’t merely elicit an opposing argument. It often results in personal attacks, threats, harassment of your family, lies about you on the internet, and the posting of personal information. Public discourse is no longer a battle of ideas. It’s a battle to suppress ideas. People are usually quick to recognize this intimidation when it’s coming from those they disagree with, but they are blind to it when it advances their own views. Issues involving sex are more susceptible to this vicious suppression than almost any other topic.

    Sex offender registries are like the drug war. While they serve no practical purpose, they are a useful tool for politicians trying to get reelected by being “tough on crime”. And if there is one category of people that the public is more than willing to sacrifice, it’s sex offenders (which are conveniently portrayed in the media as if they are all equal to the most sensational examples).

    Dammit. There goes my day…

  8. #8 |  UvalDuvalCuckoo | 

    @Tarran – I’ll gladly be corrected on that point, it is in fact the system although I’d pedantically point out, the system is just a group of people with the Prosecutor driving it most of the time. I hear what you’re saying though and I do agree.

    @Terraformer
    If you don’t have a ton of money or have a trusted advisor, namely your atty, telling you to plead or you’re going to get crushed, it’s pretty understandable that people fight stuff. Here’s my experience with it “I’m innocent, the cop is pissed off at me b/c he caught me with his ex-bf – their evidence is non-existent” Atty”It’s his word against yours and juries defer to LE” Me – “I realize that but I’m innocent”. Atty: “Take the plea or push the case and get your a55 handed to you, but the judge has no patience for that and if you lose, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.” Me” That’s ok, I’m innocent” – Atty: “I need another 10k on the retainer in that case” which I didn’t have and yes, i could have found another atty, but I had already spent my expendable cash there. I’m not saying it’s right, but I damn sure understand how it happens and there’s a TON of pressure to plea.

  9. #9 |  qwints | 

    False accusation and coercive plea bargain leads to man being placed on the sex offender registry. Not news.

  10. #10 |  terraformer | 

    @Dustin–
    This isn’t about me and my goals. It’s about our shared goals to remain free. Most of your questions are leading or judgmental so I won’t bother answering them all but I will say this, I work for free everyday to protect free people’s rights in a state that has perfected taking them away. I do this to the detriment of my personal finances (opportunity costs) with no hope of ever coming even on that deal.

    I speak with people daily who “took the deal” and as a result gave up their rights of appeal. Not living in a no contest state, I don’t know for sure what the appellate rules are but I believe they are not appealable. The guy traded his money and his “freedom” to walk around in exchange for the true liberty of being truly free. He made his choice. It sounds like he knew what choice he was making. His story is disgusting and in a truly just society would not be possible, but when you make deals with the devil, don’t expect to not get burned and don’t expect the government to come save you.

    Who else should save him when he does not work to save himself?

  11. #11 |  SamK | 

    Fight even when you’re going to lose, don’t let the fuckers win by default. I’ve said that a lot in my life.

    …and I stared down the ‘barrel’ of twenty years or more of hard time and I took the fucking misdemeanor plea.

    I’ve modified my stance to include “If there’s any point whatsoever”. In plea deals there really isn’t most of the time.

  12. #12 |  Lenore Skenazy | 

    If I were in the man’s situation, I think I would have been too scared of the possible consequences to go to trial. What’s exceedingly frustrating is that these were his only two choices: Sex Offender Registry or the possibility of an enormous sentence. — Lenore, Free-Range Kids

  13. #13 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Overcharging and plea bargaining are the tools by which the state railroads people into prison. In the case of a sex crime, the mere accusation (especially when a child is involved) is enough to convict you in the eyes of most people who would wind up on the jury. For the prosecutor, it’s not about justice. It’s about getting a conviction (which is how their performance is measured).

    The biggest advocates of martyrdom are always those who never have to face the choice themselves.

  14. #14 |  Applederry | 

    Terraformer, I find it absolutely appalling that you claim to have some sort of shared ideal of freedom. You just CONDEMNED this man to his sentence, all for the crime of not having the strength to stand up to the might of the State. I mean, do you really think that if this guy went to trial and managed to be found not guilty, that anything in society would have changed? No. The laws would still have been there, the prosecutors would still force plea deals upon innocent victims.

    You brush off his suffering because he wasn’t pure enough for you. I don’t care what kind of work you claim to do to protect people’s rights, YOU are the problem, not the victim.

  15. #15 |  delurking | 

    I’m sorry, but the article is not credible.

    1:
    “We hired a private investigator, who uncovered many pieces of evidence that proved the accuser wrong. But in a criminal trial with a minor, it’s all inadmissible.”

    No. Exculpatory evidence is not inadmissible, even when the accuser is a minor. So, I suspect that it really was a he said/she said, with no evidence either way.

  16. #16 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    That’s why, for instance, many schools won’t let the school bus drop a kid off at the bus stop unless there is a PRE-APPROVED GUARDIAN waiting there to escort him or her home. Even if the parents say, “It’s ok! I trust my kid to walk a block!”

    Yes, the gullible American public has been brainwashed to
    think behind every tree or boulder is a Pied Piper, waiting to drag as
    many kids off to NeverNeverLand as possible. Stranger danger.
    Truth is, the it’s often a Jerry Sandusky or a boy-crazy
    Catholic priest who gets ordained ‘Pre-Approved Guardian.’

  17. #17 |  Steve Verdon | 

    terraformer,

    You are a complete idiot. Fighting a sex offender charge is extremely hard. The default assumption of most people is, “Why would the child lie?” That automatically means and up hill fight in court since the Jury is pre-disposed to convict. Add on that prosecutors routinely over-charge and threaten maximum sentences to get plea bargains and the cost of attorneys. The system is stacked against the defendant in these cases.

    The true irony is that sex offender registries, if anything, are making our kids less safe. They provide an incentive to not register and move. They include people we shouldn’t be afraid of. And stranger danger is vastly over played. Children are in far more danger from their parents and other family members than some stranger walking down the street.

  18. #18 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @6 – No purpose? I disagree. Otherwise, certain serious criminals can’t be released even when they’ve done their time. They’re way, way too broad to the point of uselessness, sure, as presently constituted.

  19. #19 |  Brian | 

    @delurker

    Not entirely correct–Direct exculpatory evidence is always admissible, but character evidence against a minor accuser in a sexual offense case often isn’t. The likely case here was that the actual incident was a he said/she said case, but the accused was not allowed to present evidence that the girl say, had a history of lying to manipulate people or of lying about sexual abuse. This problem doesn’t just apply to minors, either–rape shield laws, intending to protect rape victims from nasty attacks on their sexual behavior, also protect lying rape accusers from being confronted with evidence of a history of lying about sex to extort or manipulate men.

    All of the laws we’ve passed to make it easier to prosecute rape and child molestation–rape shield laws, removing a corroboration requirement for accusations of rape, removing the 6th amendment right to confront one’s accuser in child sexual abuse cases–also make it nearly impossible for a defendant to fight a false accusation. When faced with the choice of a plea bargain for freedom+sex offender registry or a 50% risk of a decade or two in jail+sex offender registry, it’s hard to fight even if you’re innocent.

  20. #20 |  Anthony | 

    Yizmo,

    I wonder if I could make my dog or cat a “Pre-Approved Guardian”

  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #16 Leon Wolfeson

    @6 – No purpose? I disagree. Otherwise, certain serious criminals can’t be released even when they’ve done their time. They’re way, way too broad to the point of uselessness, sure, as presently constituted.

    Well, they do serve a purpose in the same sense that duck and cover made people feel better about a possible nuclear attack.

    Sex offender registries, as they are implemented are ineffective at best and almost certainly make the problem worse. They are used against people who don’t pose a threat. They are error prone. They are justified with claims that the recidivism rate is greater for sex offenders than others which is bullshit. They group sex offenders together which encourages social interaction with each other while discouraging integration into society. Worst of all, sex offender registries deny any chance of rehabilitation to the convicted. It’s a guaranty of life long misery, shame, embarrassment, harassment, dangerous living conditions, and perpetual persecution to a group who must now live among those who hate them. What could possibly go wrong with that?

    Sex offender registries do one thing very well. They are great for satisfying people’s emotion-driven desire for revenge and feeding their paranoid delusion of child predators behind every tree (“Look! There’s a list of them right in our neighborhood!”)

    As for keeping sex offenders locked up once they’ve done their time, don’t even get me started on that.

  22. #22 |  En Passant | 

    #13 | delurking wrote August 1st, 2012 at 1:19 pm:

    No. Exculpatory evidence is not inadmissible, even when the accuser is a minor. So, I suspect that it really was a he said/she said, with no evidence either way.

    This is a common misapprehension among those who are not lawyers, or even among lawyers who have never defended a sexual assault case.

    Many states have so-called “rape shield laws” which prohibit evidence of complainant’s past sexual behavior. Sometimes courts interpret these laws so broadly that even a complainant’s past false accusations of rape (which I think you would agree can be exculpatory) cannot be admitted unless the defendant can prove that the past accusation was knowingly false.

    The requirement that a prior accusation was knowingly false is an extremely difficult fact to prove, and may even be impossible for many complainants. Even moreso in a case involving a juvenile complainant.

  23. #23 |  Gordon | 

    A sick and corrupt system is a reflection of a sick and corrupt society. Is there even enough left to save at this point, or should we walk away and let it collapse?

  24. #24 |  marie | 

    It’s not the system, it’s our sexually irrational and paranoid culture. Essentially, the justice system can do whatever they want to sex offenders because society considers them fair game.

    Bless you, Dave Krueger.

    As for you, terraformer, having the coolest handle I’ve seen all day isn’t enough for me to forgive you for thinking my husband should have gone to trial…which would have been the same as asking for an extra two years instead of the four in the plea agreement. When a defendant turns down a plea agreement to go to trial, when he is convicted (and he will be), the judge can tack on additional time on his sentence because sentencing guidelines include “acceptance of responsibility.” If the defendant accepts responsibility for his crime, he may get a shorter sentence.

    Acceptance of responsibility means taking the deal. Going to trial means not accepting responsibility, even though the Constitution guarantees our right to trial. The prosecutor holds all the cards.

    The argument that all defendants should go to trial is an excellent argument (the system would collapse under the weight of the flood of trials)…until it is your family on the line. Or until you think things through.

  25. #25 |  Marty | 

    it’s so ominous how many hidden consequences there are to these ‘crimes’. Get busted with a doobie when you’re a kid and you’ll never be able to rent from rental corporations. I had never heard about the life insurance issue or being unable to move to Canada. So much for the assholes who say, ‘If you don’t like it you can leave…’

  26. #26 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @21 – Why do you think I’m in favour of public access?

    You’re forgetting, again, the alternative to the monitoring for certain criminals – that they simply stay in jail.

    @25 – And when you elect prosecutors, who need those convictions for their record…

  27. #27 |  Weird Willy | 

    19, Brian

    Excellent post, one that makes virtually every point that I wished to make. I recall the enormous difficulty that a fellow poster had in discussing the Brian Banks case, as he could not make people see that a mere accusation without other evidence generally assures a conviction on sexual assault charges. You, apparently, can see the light and know the truth of the matter.

    As much as I liked your post, I would take issue with one of your points. Rape shield laws were not “intended to protect rape victims from nasty attacks on their sexual behavior,” but rather merely to fulfill a feminist agenda of granting privilege and priority to women in their exertions against men. It may be a subtle point, but one I think is significant.

  28. #28 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    @28 – Yes, the 80%+ of men who control legislatures in this country wanted to give special rights to our femizon overlords. It’s almost like rich white men are allergic to power and privilege and just want to get rid of it whenever they can.

  29. #29 |  Bob | 

    How the hell do you defend yourself against something like this? There isn’t a shred of evidence required, and apparently… the alleged ‘victim’ wasn’t even interviewed.

    Shit, you might as well be accused of being a witch.

  30. #30 |  Jet | 

    So happy to see one of my favorite bloggers guesting for another of my favorite bloggers. Glad you’re here, Lenore!

  31. #31 |  marie | 

    Shit, you might as well be accused of being a witch.

    Pretty much the same thing.

    See also, The Scarlet Letter.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

  32. #32 |  Brian | 

    @28 Weird Willy and 29 GeneralGarbage

    It’s always tough to determine the intent of a law. It was a serious problem prior to these laws that a woman who was raped would often have her sexual history put on trial, because the courts determined that evidence of promiscuity was relevant to the question of consent. Majority male legislatures saw the problem, and like dumb legislators always do, they picked a solution that overshot in the other direction, because who cares about the rights of an accused rapist? It didn’t help that feminists continued to push a very dangerous lie, that women (and children) never lie about rape.

    At this point, it should be obvious that even if evidence of the accuser’s promiscuity is irrelevant, evidence of the accuser’s history of lying about sex is highly relevant and must be admissible, and it should be obvious that women and children do lie about sexual assault for a variety of reasons (money, fame, revenge, shame, to secure child custody, etc.) The rights of the a

  33. #33 |  Brian | 

    Lousy iPad–“the rights of the accused need to be restored.” is how that was supposed to end.

  34. #34 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    How do these rape shield laws stand up in appellate courts? Are they ever sucessfully challenged due to the accused having been denied his right to confront witnesses?

  35. #35 |  Weird Willy | 

    28, GeneralGarbage.

    “It’s almost like rich white men are allergic to power and privilege and just want to get rid of it whenever they can.”

    No, Garbage, it’s not even remotely like that. A much more sapient premise would be that legislators essentially enjoy expanding the ingress of their authoritarian dominion, and if they are able to identify a socially privileged agenda as an expedient to that end, they are more than willing to endorse and advance it (especially if they believe that they can render themselves personally immune to that agenda’s ill effects).

  36. #36 |  Weird Willy | 

    28, GeneralGarbage.

    “It’s almost like rich white men are allergic to power and privilege and just want to get rid of it whenever they can.”

    No, Garbage, it’s not even remotely like that. A much more sapient premise would be that legislators essentially enjoy expanding the ingress of their authoritarian dominion, and if they are able to identify a socially privileged agenda as an expedient to that end, they are more than willing to endorse and advance it (especially if they believe that they can render themselves personally immune to that agenda’s ill effects).

  37. #37 |  johnl | 

    Paging William Anderson.

  38. #38 |  Bernard | 

    Dave, you’re only part-right there. The paranoid culture creates an environment in which people who are poorly connected CAN be railroaded like this, but if the reason for railroading them were really cultural then rich and well-connected people wouldn’t get away with obvious crimes so much.

    There was a story on here some years back about a courthouse worker whose job was to bring the accused in to court hearings and who raped a bunch of minors while they were handcuffed and waiting to appear. Noone believed the first few (of course), but when he finally did get caught his union fought tooth and nail with little prosecutorial resistence to have crimes downgraded and scrubbed out.

    If you’re ‘in’ you can do any of the things that people get falsely accused of with little risk of being caught and still less of ending up on a registry.

    Being poor, insignificant or unaware of the importance of having powerful supporters are the only reasons people end up in these absurd situations. It’s bullshit, but I don’t think any amount of legislation can change the reality of how human societies work.

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    I love your work Lenore. I’m about to be a dad for the first time. When my wife and I first found out we were expecting, I mentioned Free Range Kids. “Oh yeah, worst mom of the year lady? I’m totally on board with her.”

    I’m proud to say my wife is inspired by the worst mom of the year. Welcome to The Ag.

  40. #40 |  GT | 

    Name the girl who made the false accusation – fuck “shield laws”: it can be done by mechanisms that are absolutely untraceable (or for $20, hire one of the myriad Anonymii and make it look like the name was leaked from within the DA’s office).

    If this girl did what was claimed, and has not recanted and has shown no remorse… well, that young girl’s life needs to change in ways that shes not going to like, otherwise she will do it again (that’s how incentives work, folks: reward bad behaviour and it will ramify).

    As an aside: we all modify our behaviour as a result of this sort of thing, in ways that have significant external diseconomies. For over a decade I have refused to tutor any under-age female students, after a friend took a private tutoring job and his student – who developed a crush on him – declared that UNLESS he had sex with her (they were often alone) she would allege that he touched her.

    Fortunately he stood up to this, and immediately contacted her parents and told them (gutsy, right?). Also fortunately, the girl’s parents got the truth out of her and she burst into tears and confessed all… so no harm done.

    But since I’m WAY better lookin’ than my mate was, I figure “Nope. Fuck that shit… that entire market segment is now someone else’s problem.” So any teenage girl who needs tuition in maths or economics is automagially denied the services of risk-averse male tutors (who are invariably the best tutors for those two subjects) as a result of something that happened when there were only about ten people on the internet.

    Likewise, when I was a grad student (and ergo an ‘official’ university tutor), we put a sign on our office door saying that we did not permit female students in the office unless there was a third party present. (Fraternisation was prohibited, for good reasons – but there was the occasional frisson). SOME GIRLS COMPLAINED, claiming that “they would never make an accusation of that nature”… the sign stayed for four years.

    Name her, shame her (to the extent that she has any sense of shame). To do otherwise is to validate her behaviour and thereby give her implicit santion to repeat-offend.

  41. #41 |  GT | 

    Damn… typos abound. Oh Radley, when will you install Disqus or IntenseDebate so we can edit and correct that sort of embarrassing fat-finger error? (The problem is that I can’t touch-type AND I’m a lousy proof-reader of my own material).

  42. #42 |  zywie | 

    This is an opinion piece from a rather biased source. More information is needed.

  43. #43 |  Stephen | 

    i would be very angry if falsely accused and railroaded. I would strongly feel like actually committing the crime once I became free to move about the world because I would feel that I had already paid for it and that my accuser deserved it. (And then flee to another country)

    I truly don’t understand how people that wrongly spent years in jail are generally so forgiving when they are exonerated.

  44. #44 |  Or gone | 

    Alternate headline: Creepy child molester blames dog.

  45. #45 |  RSDavis | 

    There are some gaping holes in the story, the biggest of which is that in Virginia “aggravated sexual battery” requires either a victim “less than 13 years of age” or a 13 or 14 year old AND “The accused causes serious bodily or mental injury to the complaining witness, or The accused uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon.”

    Likewise, “aggravated sexual battery” is punishable by “confinement in a state correctional facility for a term of not less than one nor more than 20 years and by a fine of not more than $100,000.”

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-67.3

  46. #46 |  John C. Randolph | 

    He has ZERO recourse unless he can prove to a judge (who don’t like to be lied to) that he was coerced into said confession

    I don’t know about you, but a threat of decades in prison sure sounds like coercion to me.

    -jcr

  47. #47 |  John C. Randolph | 

    we put a sign on our office door saying that we did not permit female students in the office unless there was a third party present.

    A friend of a friend is a professor at a well-known university in California. A female student came to see him during his office hours, and said “I’ll do anything to get an A.” He told her “study.” She closed the door, took off her shirt, and repeated herself. So did he. She got all huffy, put her clothes back on, and stormed out.

    He was a nervous wreck for weeks, since he didn’t know whether she was just a lazy slut, or a lazy vindictive slut. To this day, he has an audio recorder running whenever he has a student in his office.

    -jcr

  48. #48 |  generalgarbage | 

    @weird willy – I disagree with your premise. Most gains on rights are won by fighting tooth and nail, they’re not handed over because legs want to expand their authoritarian dominion. Anyway, they could more easily expand authoritarian dominion over women by doing nothing. You sound like an angry MRA when you argue this. It’s more plausible that legs were responding to a legitimate problem, and were honestly trying to do good when they instituted these laws. Has there been creep and overreach? Sure, but at core I don’t think the principles of shield laws are wholly problematic. There’s nothing wrong with the idea that “sluts” can still be victims.

    @#40 – you sound a little rapey yourself. Name and shame sexual assault victims, ffs?!?!? What about if she’s not lying? But you’ve got an anecdote , so “bitches, amirite fellas”.

    I understand that this issue is coimplicated and there’s a natural tension, as it will often be a he said-she said, but the answer is not to become saudi arabia. Would y’all rather that we require 3 male eyewitnesses before a claim is considered valid?

  49. #49 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    #48

    When GT called for naming and shaming, I took it to refer specifically to false accusations (as an incentive not to make false accusations in the future).

  50. #50 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    @49 – Thats kind of my point, though. how do you make that determination? In this case, for instance, the guy plead guilty. Are we really justified in calling this a false claim? Would you be certain enough to publicly go after a little girl that may have been victimized? I bet every rapist in jail that wasn’t videotaped in the act would say he’s the victim of a false accusation.

    If you normalize “name and shame” that will become defense SOP.

    Now, if it comes out at trial that it was a false accusation, then go nuts. In fact, I’d propose that the penalty for a knowingly false accusation (which would be a pretty high standard of course) be equivalent to the penalty that the accused would face.

  51. #51 |  marie | 

    The naming and shaming should be about the prosecutor, don’t you think?

    Naming and shaming kids is dirty. But the prosecution who moves forward with a case based on a false accusation…those bastards need a reason to think twice the next time one of these cases come up.

  52. #52 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #38 Bernard

    Dave, you’re only part-right there. The paranoid culture creates an environment in which people who are poorly connected CAN be railroaded like this, but if the reason for railroading them were really cultural then rich and well-connected people wouldn’t get away with obvious crimes so much.

    I didn’t mean to confuse the railroading with the paranoid culture. The railroading is universal in the justice system independent of our sexual paranoia. The replacement of jury trial with plea bargaining is mostly motivated by politics, justice system empire building, and the continual growth of prosecutorial power.

    The sexually paranoid culture, on the other hand, is what permits the justice system to get away with treating people convicted of sex crimes much more severely than other convicts. I think most people (victims included) would consider murder to be at least as serious a crime as most sex crimes and yet murderers are not subject to the life-long systemic persecution that comes with being a registered sex offender. Even if recidivism rates could justify sex offender registries, it wouldn’t justify how they are currently used as a means of delivering perpetual punishment.

    And I completely agree with your assessment that being an insider makes you more equal than others. That is certainly inherent in the culture of government.

  53. #53 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @50 – Yes, I’ve called for years for knowingly malicious accusations to require the same sex offender registration as the crime they accused someone of.

    (Parents “made” the girl accuse? Well, then can go on instead…)

  54. #54 |  Shell | 

    A year ago I moved my family to another state to get away from the county school system where we had lived, where I had spent my entire life, because the system had deteriorated so far that it put the “funk” in dysfunctional. By that I mean the system is so bad that they lost accreditation, the first in the nation to do so in years and years, then got it back and almost immediately was put on probation under threat of having it pulled again.

    As bad as it was and is the one thing that school system didn’t do was make me undergo a background check and get a school-issued I.D. to wear on a cord around my neck just to visit my childrens’ classes or to just *stand outside the school on the playground and watch Field Day activities* like the county where we live now does.

    I work in private security and before the last school year began I had to pass two background checks to get the licenses required to work in that field in Florida. My wife has had three brushes with the law in her life, all traffic citations. My mother-in-law, none at all.

    But my resistance to the requirement isn’t just based on that. In January 2008 we learned that a man I had known for eight years, that I had worked with for two years and that we as a family had called a friend for five years, is a pedophile who’d had unfettered access to our oldest daughter for most of that five years.

    He has two daughters slightly older than mine and they had become friends, spending time at both our houses, having sleepovers every weekend at one or the other, spending several days together during off-time during the school year and Summer vacations from school. He broke bread with us many times, we took the children on outings together. A good time was had by all. The reason all that ended and we found out about him is his ex-wife found something that made her suspicious of his “relationship” with our daughter and went to the police.

    He is an ex-police officer and security professional who was still certified to work in law enforcement in our home state (he’d kept it current), had been chief or assistant chief of security at several major venues and businesses in our home city (and in being in those positions had worked with the Secret Service, FBI, et al during presidential visits to some of those places) held a CCW permit, and was working as a security officer when he was arrested.

    That is to say, he had passed numerous background checks throughout his working life. He never made a blip on the official radar.

    My point is – any parent or guardian who wants to do more than eat lunch with their child(ren) at the local schools has to pass a background check. In my experience, so what?

  55. #55 |  Weird Willy | 

    GeneralGarbage,

    “You sound like an angry MRA…”

    Ah, the old name-calling technique. You know what they say, when one cannot advance an intelligent argument, one can always resort to name-calling! Personally, not knowing what an MRA is (angry or otherwise), I really don’t care that you choose to characterize me as one. What I find much more revealing and pertinent is the fact that you resort to slurring me at all, which indicates the true character of your thought and contemplation

    “Most gains…are won by fighting tooth and nail…”

    True, it is not always easy to convince authoritarians that one’s personal cause has the traction necessary to distort pre-existing social relationships and facilitate the expansion of authoritarian dominion. As you correctly note, one often must push the agenda of a special interest with great zeal in order to achieve this end.

    “Anyway, they could more easily expand authoritarian dominion over women by doing nothing.”

    This seems to show the predisposing effects of the militant feminist perspective; all efforts toward social ingress must specifically target women or they simply do not exist (or at least they are not suitable for discussion). It seems you have committed little thought and even less time studying special interest politics, which involves processes whereby different groups are targeted for a loss of standing at different times. The measures discussed here were not specifically intended to expand authoritarian dominion over women, nor was such even implied. How does it even occur to you to introduce this into the discussion?

    “There’s nothing wrong with the idea that ‘sluts’ can still be victims.”

    And now our old friend, the Straw Man, makes an appearance! Not only is there nothing wrong with the idea that sluts can still be victims, it is a proposition that I wholeheartedly endorse. Ignoring all preceding evidence to the contrary, I still assume you are trying to make a legitimate point, but (whatever that point might be) this does nothing to advance it.

  56. #56 |  Weird Willy | 

    Addressing the purported validity and good intentions underlying rape shield laws, such purport could not even be made in an environment not defined by the overwhelming anti-sexual paranoia to which Dave Krueger alludes. Absent this paranoia and the diseased, culturally conditioned sexual aversion that underlies it, I would imagine that the courtroom presentations that these laws purportedly address would (figuratively) go something like this:

    Defense Attorney – “The evidence we will bring forth is going to demonstrate the fact that Ms. Blank actually enjoys sex, has been known to have sex in the past, and has even had sex with a number of different partners. The evidence will show that she has clearly established herself as someone who is willing to have sex.”

    Jury (in tacit response) – “Yeah, so what? She likes to have sex, I like to have sex, we all enjoy having sex, and hopefully we all have had more than one partner. Big deal. Are you going to get to the issue of whether or not she was forced to have sex against her will in this instance?”

    If rape shield laws were really intended to preserve the fundamental rights and dignity of a complainant, they would not be crafted in a way that preserves the shame and stigma heaped upon women who choose to have sex. By deeming a woman’s sexual history necessarily shameful, something that cannot be voiced respectably in the light of day, and must be concealed if she is not to be deemed a “slut” who cannot possibly be raped, these laws help perpetuate the very value system that condemns women for being sexually active. The overriding and causative problem, as Dave Krueger correctly observes, is the perverse, anti-sexual revulsion and paranoia that predominates within this culture. Laws that function to maintain and reinforce this ill condition cannot be helpful, and cannot reasonably be seen as well intended.

  57. #57 |  Weird Willy | 

    50, GeneralGarbage

    “How do you make that determination?”

    If the fellow in this story is in the position described, he already knows for an absolutely certain fact that the girl has made up the accusations. No further determination is necessary, and he would be wholly justified in pursuing the means described by GT.

    As for your slur that GT “sounds a little rapey,” this only goes to show the distortions inherent in your perspective. No “naming and shaming of sexual assault victims” was contemplated in GT’s post, only the naming of a person whom a party personally knows to be a false accuser. To suggest that one’s impulse to hold a malicious malefactor accountable for her actions only arises within the mind of a potential rapist is a deliberate distortion that reflects very poorly on your character.

  58. #58 |  Stace | 

    OMG! this story is the exact same as my husbands only take out the dog, replace the accuser with a 13 yr old daughter of a mother who retaliated after the courts gave custody to my husband of the 4 kids…same thing happened..there was no proof except a written statement that was emailed to the county attorney and signed by the daughter. Whom had no idea what she was signing. Now the same thing is happening with the next oldest daughter, only she came to us and told us what her mother was trying to do and said she would not go along with it because it did not happen. She want’s to live with us but can not because of the registry. The mother has lost the oldest daughter due to abuse and terrorist threats, and now is under investigation for the other 3 daughters for abuse, neglect and drinking and driving a minor and blew a .29 when pulled over, but we’ve been told what she did still is not as bad as you being on the registry…are you kidding me? She could of killed those kids or someone else but apparently death is more acceptable than being falsely accused and being on a registry. My husband was told by the attorney he didn’t want to go to trial because he is basically already seen as guilty because it was a minor in a small town with small minds, so the plea was for a misdemeanor…small town folks would of convicted him on no evidence. The only evidence they had was this typed letter that was signed by the minor. Now tell me this…if you truly thought your daughter was molested by the father would you let the other 3 daughters still see him regularly? I know I wouldn’t, so something is wrong with that..and it was ok for us to have the girls for a whole month while she did jail time. The system does not work. I do not have any faith in it and hope like hell I never get accused of anything I did not do. It has ruined his life, can’t get a job, we have no friends when they find out, the retaliation from the community and the embarrassment is more than tolerable. Something needs to be done, the registry has caused many harmless men and women a life of hardship and homelessness. It is ridiculous!!

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