Reliable Answers - News and Commentary
Safety Quick Tips eBook

Safety Quick Tips eBook

Sex Offenders: In my neighborhood?

by Annette M. Hall

Safety Quick Tip Video

Yesterday the afternoon traffic was crazy, then it dawned on me that school was back in session. With school comes many concerns; school supplies, school clothes but probably the most important is child safety.

Taking a few precautions can help insure your child's safety as they make their way to and from school. For those children who still walk to school, safety is an important factor to keep in mind.

Sex Offender Registry

Few things create panic in a parents heart as the prospect of a sex offender living in their midst. Family Watchdog is a free service, to assist parents in locating registered sex offenders in your area, using Google Maps to display sex offender data.

Just enter an address and we'll show you a map. Each sex offender is highlighted on the map enabling viewers to view the offenders picture, address, and other information; such as aliases used, a physical description and their convictions. Parents concerned about their neighborhood or those who are moving can use this free service to make sure they are in a safe neighborhood. Combined with the available public state sex-offender registries this provides a powerful search tool for parents.

Megan's Law allows each state the discretion to establish criteria for disclosure, but compels them to make private and personal information on registered sex offenders available to the public.

Users can type in their address and pull up a map that pinpoints the exact location of the homes of registered sex offenders in their neighborhood. Users can then zoom in on the maps for a clearer view. To access the site, your browser must be compatible with Google Maps.

Sex Offenders: In my neighborhood?

National Sex Offender Database

The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSPPW), coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, is a cooperative effort between the jurisdictional agencies hosting public sexual offender registries and the federal government. This Website is a search tool allowing a user to submit a single national query to obtain information about sex offenders through a number of search options.

Each state writes it's own laws governing how this information is used or made available to the public. Many states such as California provide direct online access to their databases. While parents may find the information included in these databases useful, critics believe that providing this type of information to the general public may give parents a false sense of security.

Megan's Law

Though Megan's law requires sex offenders to register their address at least yearly, those who do not comply are not a high priority for police follow-up due to heavy caseloads. Further exacerbating the problem, many who's names are included in these state databases are not by a strict definition "sex offenders".

Public notification has been in place as a national law for several years. In 1994, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was enacted. The Jacob Wetterling Act required all states to establish stringent registration programs for sex offenders by September 1997, including the identification and lifetime registration of "sexual predators." The Jacob Wetterling Act is a National law that is designed to protect children and was named after Jacob Wetterling, an eleven year old boy who was kidnapped in October 1989. Jacob is still missing.

Megan's Law, the first amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offenders Act, was passed in October 1996. Megan's Law mandated that all states develop a notification protocol that would allow public access to information about sex offenders within the community. Megan's Law was named after Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered by a twice-convicted child molester in her New Jersey neighborhood.

While these laws are seen by most as a step in the right direction, toward providing the necessary tools to assist parents in protecting their children from sexual predators, that may not be the case at all.

In fact, search locations that show an area free of sex offenders may lead parents to have a false sense of security, cause them to less diligent than they might otherwise be. Alternatively, families who live near those listed in state databases may instill unnecessary fear in their children, causing them needless additional stress, leading to serious emotional disorders.

Having personally been interested in privacy issues, not necessarily for the guilty but for those innocent individuals who find themselves listed more through bad circumstances than due to any real public threat, I find these current trends disturbing to say the least.

Sex Offender Information

For Example:
I know of several young men around the age of 19 or 20, who have had younger girl-friends, say... aged 16 or 17, who's parents were upset because of their dating relationship and decided to charge the young men with statutory rape. Those young men are now required, by law, in many states, to register yearly as sex offenders and are not allow to come into contact with children, though in fact they present no threat to young children.

I am familiar with six or seven such instances of this type of scenerio happening to especially young men and I really don't know that many young people, so I believe this practice is a growing trend nationwide.

Many parents who have been falsely accused of child abuse by CPS agents, have found their names added to this list of sex offenders, without due process of law, even if the allegations have been found to be false and the case dismissed. To make matters worse, it's nearly impossible to get ones name removed from these national registers.

In December 2008, the Federal Appeals Court found that similar lists are unconstitutional. In California, attorneys with Pacific Justice Institute have warned parents that, once CPS decides to investigate them for child abuse — sometimes based on anonymous tips from neighbors or vindictive ex-spouses — their names can end up on California's Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). [Learn more...]

Protect Your Child

The best way to protect our children as they travel to and from school each day, is to know where they are and make certain they know what to do if they are approached by a stranger. However, keep in mind that strangers aren't the only threat to our children's safety.

While many schools do screen teachers and other school personnel, we still hear of daily news reports where teachers are involved in sex rings, online porn rings and other such nefarious activities. Aside from removing your child from the public school system, my best advice is to keep the lines of communication open with your child, visit the school often and know the people who spend hours daily with them.

Parents should also be aware that a child is statistically more apt to be sexually molested by a family member or friend than they are by a total stranger because those known by the family are considered trusted individuals, making it more difficult for a child to refuse their advances.

Parents should take time to calmly talk with their children about their bodies in a non-threatening way, letting their child know they can talk about any concerns they may have. Nothing helps to protect our children more than knowing they have parents they can trust and talk to. Communication is key to a loving trusting relationship with our children.

While these state sex offender registries may prove over time to be beneficial, the jury is still out and we won't know for many years if they have done more harm than good. You would do well to keep in mind that they are unreliable tools at best and at worst can stigmatize someone who possess no harm to your family. Try to keep things in perspective.

Give your child a hug from me and do your best to keep them safe from harm. It's a growing challenge that won't get any easier anytime soon.

Additional Sex Offender Links

Safety Resources


Know the Law & Protect Yourself & Your Family

As mentioned above many young people end up on sex offender registries due to their romantic involvement with someone a couple years younger than themselves. It seems highly unfair in many cases. Your knowledge of the law and your ability to make your children aware of the consequences of their actions can go a long way to keeping your child off these types of lists that can follow them the rest of their lives.

What is Statutory Rape?

It is a crime committed when an adult has sexual intercourse with a minor. Who is a minor? Anyone under the age of 18, (or 16; as defined by state law, see list below and the current laws in your state.)

What can happen if an adult has sex with a minor? Even if he is your boyfriend? If reported, that person may be arrested, tried in a court of law, and sent to jail. What happens if the sex is consensual and one is a minor? Even if they both agree to have sex, it is still considered statutory rape.

Sexual Consent Age Laws in the United States

These laws are for sexual consent in the United States only. As with any laws, these are subject to change. If you see two ages in one cell, that is because the age of consent is different for females and for males.

Although many young people are mature enough to know how to deal with the consequences of sex, some teens are not grown up enough to know that their actions have consequences. Age of consent laws are there to protect young people from being exploited by unscrupulous adults who prey on young people and children.

Law by State:

Female/Male

Male/Male

Female/Female

Alabama

16

illegal

illegal

Alaska

16

16

16

Arizona

18

illegal

illegal

Arkansas

16

illegal

illegal

California

18

18

18

Colorado

17

17

17

Connecticut

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

District of Columbia

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Delaware

16 (f) 18 (m)

not codified into law

not codified into law

Florida

18

illegal

illegal

Georgia

16

16

16

Hawaii

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Idaho

16 (f) 18 (m)

illegal

illegal

Illinois

17

17

17

Indiana

16

16

16

Iowa

14 (f) 18(m)

not codified into law

not codified into law

Kansas

16

illegal

illegal

Kentucky

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Louisiana

17

illegal (under appeal)

illegal (under appeal)

Maine

16

16

16

Maryland

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Massachusetts

16 (f) 18 (m)

illegal

illegal

Michigan

16

illegal

illegal

Minnesota

16

illegal

illegal

Mississippi

16

illegal

illegal

Missouri

17

illegal

illegal

Montana

16 (f) 18 (m)

18

18

Nebraska

17

not codified into law

not codified into law

Nevada

16

18

18

New Hampshire

16

18

18

New Jersey

16

16

16

New Mexico

17

16

16

New York

17

17

17

North Carolina

16

illegal

illegal

North Dakota

18

18

18

Ohio

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Oklahoma

16

illegal

illegal

Oregon

18

18

18

Pennsylvania

16

16

16

Rhode Island

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

South Carolina

14 (f) 16 (m)

illegal

illegal

South Dakota

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Tennessee

18

not codified into law

not codified into law

Texas

17

illegal

illegal

Utah

16 (f) 18 (m)

illegal

illegal

Vermont

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Virginia

18

illegal

illegal

Washington

16

16

16

West Virginia

16

not codified into law

not codified into law

Wisconsin

18

18

18

Wyoming

16 (f) 18 (m)

not codified into law

not codified into law

US Military

16

don't ask; don't tell

don't ask; don't tell

US Citizen Outside USA

18

not codified into law

not codified into law

Updated February 20, 2009

[xYG] - learn and discuss models, frameworks and tools for extending Yahoo Groups

Take me to the top

Your Ad Here?

Contact our Marketing department for information about advertising on this domain.


Take me to the top

We invite you
to visit:

Professional Web Hosting and Design Services: 12 Point Design Local Homeschool provides the most up-to-date support group listings in a geographical and searchable index Budget Homeschool Kidjacked -- To seize control of a child, by use of force SaferPC dispels security misunderstandings and provides you with a solid understanding of viruses and computer security Reliable Answers - developer information, current news, human interest and legislative news Twain Harte Photo Gallery - Twain Harte, CA - The closest you can get to Heaven on Earth Cranial Laser & Neurolymphatic Release Techniques (CLNRT) - Experience dramatic pain reduction At Summit Chiropractic our mission is to improve your quality of life - We know that health is much more than just not feeling pain Visit UniveralPreschool.com to learn about your preschool options. Dave's Quick Search Deskbar
Reliable Answers.com/general/sex_offenders.asp AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Google