Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Not All Sex Offenders are Created Equal
Orange County has just passed a law which bans all registered sex offenders from county parks. This law is unconstitutional because it is over-broad. It is overbroad because it treats all sex offenders the same. There is a great misconception in the public about registered sex offenders. Most people believe that all registered sex offenders are child molesters or pedaphiles but that is simply not true. A conviction for any "lewd act" can subject a person to the sex registration requirement. People who commit low level offenses which are misdemeanors may not even go to jail for their crimes yet they are treated in the same fashion as those who spend years in prison for their crimes. Low Level sex offenders are not necessarily predators. Someone who has been convicted of exposing themselves or of masterbating in public, and by public I mean in their car at night with no one around, or of having sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse in public, same scenario as above, could be required to register as a sex offender if convicted of this crime. While the sex registration law is intended to protect people from true predators, it simultaneously destroys the lives of those required to register for minor offenses because they are treated with the same disdain as those who have committed much more serious and harmful offenses. They are ostracized by society. They can't find jobs or homes. Obviously there are some predators that we are all concerned about. But this law is not limited to those people. Not all sex offenders should be treated equally, because they are not all the same.