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Monday, April 8, 2013
Mary Devoy would have us believe that the sex offender registry doesn’t work because the list of offenders consists of primarily 18-year-olds who had consensual relations with their 16-year-old girlfriends; this is simply not the case, and is the rare exception, not the rule.
The offenses for which a person is required to register are serious, and such requirement is triggered only when the sex offender is convicted beyond a reasonable doubt after trial by a judge or jury. Rape, abduction with the intent to defile, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, taking indecent liberties with a minor when in a supervisory or custodial relationship, possession, production or distribution of child pornography — these are not lower-tier crimes; rather, they are some of the most heinous crimes that can be committed against another human being.
The registry reasonably informs the police and public of where those who chose to hurt others in this sexually deviant way are located when they are returned to our communities. Here, a balance must be struck between keeping our communities safe, with the hope that offenders become successful members of society after they have paid their debt.
For Devoy to say that Virginia’s registry has “dehumanized a whole class of society,” turning sex offenders into “public spectacles, monsters” completely misses the point. For it is not the registry that creates the offenders’ predicament, it’s the horrendous sex crime that they committed that makes it that way.
The old adage “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” rings true here as well — if you don’t want to be on a public registry of sex offenders here in the commonwealth of Virginia, don’t commit a sex offense crime against another human being.
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