Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is your son the next Sex Offender?

Is your son the next Sex Offender?

No!! I hear you scream…. What most people do not realize is just how easy it is to be classified as a sex offender. You don’t have to be the classic guy standing on the street corner with candy and a dog to be convicted as a sex offender. Let me tell you what recently happened to my son…I hope after you read this you will go screaming from the room to track down your State and Federal Congressional Representatives and put an end to this madness. I wish I could tell you that Ben’s story is unique but unfortunately it is becoming far too common—

Ben and Jenny were marriage 6 years ago. They were a happy church going couple. They enjoyed each other’s company and were mildly successful from a financial prospective. Shortly after their marriage however Jenny had an affair with a co-worker. Ben forgave her but was notably affected by her infidelity. Shortly thereafter they had a child, Ben Jr., who was adored by both of them.

Ben however lost his job in the economic downturn and Jen only worked infrequently. Ben went back to school full-time and was busy with school work, job search, family and church responsibilities. Jen began to spend most of her days on the computer and became a frequent visitor of chat-rooms. There she met a man from out-of-state and they began talking about a life together…they also began exchanging sex videos on the internet. During this time Jen increasingly neglected little Ben.

Ben, Sr came home one day to find the house a mess, Ben Jr. left alone in his playroom with the TV, and Jen on the computer with her cyber lover. They argued and Ben lost his temper and hit her. Shortly thereafter she left, contacted the police, returned for her clothes and little Ben who she had left behind.

Jen disappeared for several months with little Ben, pressing charges for domestic battery, obtaining free counsel through a battered woman’s shelter. (She currently lives on government money.)

Ben initiated divorce proceedings and was awarded 40% custody by the courts. For the next several months Jen would show up late with little Ben during Ben Sr.’s court ordered visitation. She would frequently ask for money or other items.

Later she broke back into their house and took 10,000 worth of property. The police refused to get involved claiming it was a civil matter.

Jen continued to show up late for visitation, to require exchanges at the local police station, and to only make exchanges through a court appointed advocate. She also frequently asked Ben’s permission to move out-of-state. She has had multiple boyfriends since the separation and wanted to move in with each. She has also continued to post sex tapes online. During one such tape, little Ben’s voice can be heard in the background talking to Jen and wishing her online lover goodbye.

Ben continued to refuse to give permission for Jen to move-in with her various lovers’ (his permission was required because of a state law that requires an agreement from both parties if a move will take the child more than 100 miles away from the other parent.) Jen also continued to ask for property and money.

Eventually she seemed to warm up to my son again and they met and had sex… (Admittedly a stupid move but for whatever reason he still loves the woman and I believe would take her back in a minute…) After they finished she sat and watched a movie with little Ben, and again asked for money and permission to move out of the area and in with her latest boy friend. Ben refused her.

The next day Ben received a call from a local policeman wanting to talk with him… Jen had accused him of rape. Ben has now spent $25,000 on attorneys and is again without visitation of his son. Though visitation remains court ordered Jen will not bring little Ben for custody exchanges and the police still claim this is a civil issue.

The end of this story has not been written but it is possible that Ben could go to prison, loose parental rights, and be required to register as a sex offender… and all because of false accusation from a woman who wants to be young again and party through life.

If you think it couldn’t happen to your son, you may want to reconsider.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oprah's 200 Men

OK ...there are so many emotions running through me right now that I can hardly get them out...hopefully this will be somewhat congruent and intelligible...

Today Oprah Winfrey-- who has long been outspoken and never hesitated to express her loathing for "predators"-- featured the stories of 200 Men that had been sexually molested as boys...

I certainly understand the pain and shame that many of these men expressed and my heart goes out to each of them...when you are sexually abused there is a change that takes place within you. With some it is more severe and profound that with others-- I have long grappled with what effect I had on my victim...since we were never given the opportunity to speak to each other after my arrest, I was never able to hear what he--that's right my victim was male--according to Oprah one in six males are molested-- anyway I will never know how he really felt. I only have other people's words and they were angry or self-interested people.

I would never discount the negative effects of abuse...I understand that some people do extremely horrible things...but that is true of many "abuses" that people inflict on one we are hearing a lot about bulling...oh you say, how can you compare bullying to sexual abuse...well I can compare it because not only have I "abused" sexually, I have also been molested and I have been bullied.

Here's the thing...not every one's story is the same...Oprah- while I do believe helping these men to come forward and share their pain was productive for them and a huge step toward there healing--but you can always hear the venom in her voice whenever she talks about the "predator" or "molester." I just don't believe all "molestation" is the same. As a religious person I have to say what I did was sinful--but as sinful as it was it was still my very best attempt at the time to share the most intimate moment I possibly could with someone I loved more than life at that moment in time--I know I can hear all the therapists and self righteous among you cringing and cursing at me now...but it is true.

What gets me as all of you who criticize me can full well justify your on pet perversion...whatever it may be. You can easily forgive your friend who is an adulterer, its ok to sleep around, after all "what consenting partners do is up to them." A day or two before today's show Oprah had Ricky Martin on the I am a Ricky Martin fan, I am also an Ellen fan and many other "gay" folks...I don't criticize other's life-choices...I figure if they are good with it and are willing to stand before their maker or deny he exists...that is their business and not mine...but just the same as I believe that my behavior was abhorrent primarily because it was against God's laws, I believe any sexual perversion is "sinful".

Now I can hear you psychobabble types crying "He's trying to Justify himself." Perhaps...but not anymore than you probably are and not every opinion that contradicts yours is wrong.

I just find it amazing that this country in particular is so willing to stoke the Salem witch fires all over again for all sex offenders and can be so lenient on the rest of the sexual perversion that permeated our society.

By continuing to preach as Oprah did today that all molesters have this calculated desire to inflict harm on children we are simply perpetuating the myth that fuels the fire of social isolation when what most molesters--at least I know I do--need inclusion. And who is Oprah to challenge this one young man who spoke of his abuse by his father, that his mother was not to be trusted with her grandchildren---come on...people male mistakes and this guy was taking precautions to insure that this kids would be safe when they had contact with his parents...He's now confronted his is time to start the healing process...sure don't be a fool --yes this father definitely should be required to get counseling if he is going to be around the kids... the fear I heard was probably greater than the risk.

I have two children that I raised and did not abuse...I have a granddaughter that I love cuddle and nurture whenever I have the opportunity...I have no sexual attraction to little girls there is zero risk of an offense...but you couldn't convince Oprah of that. Long and short of what I am saying is that you cannot simply slap a label on all offenders, which Oprah proved today is more likely than not to be someone close to you...a father, a brother, a sister, an uncle, a grandfather, a trusted neighbor, a scout leader...not some stranger in a dark either you can be scared of and reject everyone or you can open up to everyone while measuring the among of trust that can legitimately be invested in an individual on a case by case individual reality your child is probably safer with a former molester---especially one that has received counseling than with 95% of the other folks you know. Far from the inflated figures that many so called experts will share with you, the real experts and almost 40 years of empirical data tell us that the true recidivism rate is roughly 5%.

Does abuse effect you -- absolutely-- but what is exactly is abuse--- the definition varies can be as simple is sexual experimentation or as severe as the worst cases that consistently make the news...when I was around 5 I was at a family gathering and an older boy was there. He asked me to come outside with him and lay on the ground...he said he wanted to show me something and began to masturbate. He wanted me to feel him as he reached climax. Then he got up and left.... I didn't feel abused sexually...I wasn't horrified by his demonstration...but I was devastated by his leaving. When I was in third grade I wanted to go out for little league...all the boys did...when I got there I was dismayed to find that everyone except me already knew how to play. I fumbled the ball so many time in catch practice that I was teased mercilessly, I left the practice sobbing and never returned...when I was in junior high I decided to try football-- expected behavior for boys...when after a game I objected to staying for the senior high game, I was taunted and spit on by my peers...I remember wipe large chunks of hacker off my new windbreaker then walking to the bus where I sat alone in silent tears until by teammates returned and I could go home...

When I was 13 I woke up early one morning to find my Uncle performing oral sex on me. Embarrassed I pretended to still be asleep but ultimately broke away...he didn't want to stop...even after I had...we never spoke of then I had developed feelings for boys myself and just sort of figured "what goes around comes around." At 18 I attend a concert of two young singers...they were 13 or 14...I was having fantasies about them.. I had taken an extremely expensive and I think not too direct taxi ride through the weaving streets of Cincinnati to the concert hall and didn't have much money to get back to the bus station--I had seen the group on local TV ...jumped on a bus and headed for Cincy on a whim...oh the foibles of youth. Anyway, after the concert I was having a hard time getting a cab out to my location...I think that perhaps what happened next might have been a set up but I ended up in some older guys car with the promise of a ride to the bus station...he convinced me that it was too late for the bus and that his house would be a better place to wait. There he insisted --- progressively that I get in his bed...there he too performed oral on me...I was awake this time and the turned over and went to sleep...I was approached two other times in my youth by older guys who wanted to go to bed with me but was able by then to "graciously" say no.

Did these experiences devastate me...No...I felt taken advantage of, especially by my uncle and the older men, but I never was freaked because I had been sexually compromised...I understand some people are...what had a bigger impact and truly was devastating for me was the peer rejection...

I say all of this again not to justify abuse but to simply say people so horrible things to one another...sometimes without really thinking about what the other person is feeling and many times they simply move on not aware or even caring about the damage that they left in their wake...all abuse is wrong, all of it can create craters of impact from which it can take a lifetime to heal. But we cannot and must not simply throw-away or eternally crucify the person responsible for the abuse....

As Tyler Perry stated on Oprah, forgiveness is the only real cure for the effects of abuse. We have got to learn to not only hold one another accountable, but to hold and heal and forgive one another as well. I believe in reconciliation therapy...I would give anything to hear my victim tell me how I impacted his life. For no matter what any one else says about it I did and do to this day love him...I flicked on a switch in his life that he was probably not ready to deal with, but I hope that that does not entirely discount the whole of the relationship. The pain I heard more than anything from these 200 men, was that the abuse was the entirety of the relationship, even the young man whose father abused him said that that was the only attention he got from his father...I believe that part of the reason that boys don't tell, is because there are conflicting emotions in many cases of abuse...abuse is rarely 100% about sex...emotional reasons can often comprise so much more of the experience. I believe part of me was trying to re-gain the acceptable of my peers that I had lost so many years ago. By being not only being accepted by a boy--near the age of my peers at the time of my rejection ---but also permitted to share an intimacy that no one else was able to share with him, I felt for that moment not only healed but whole.

I don't expect any one reading this to understand...but I would hope that at least you would explore the possibility within your own heart that inclusion is a far better approach to any problem than rejection. And if you are a Christian or any believer in a hereafter, I would suggest to you that now is the time for reconciliation...I can't imagine that any God that might exist or any sane follower of His or hers, could logically entertain the possibility of a heaven where engage in evasiveness for some point I believe we will all be called on to confront one another...better now of our own free will than then by compulsion. I know I intend to be there and I assume you do too...Today is the day to is the day of inclusion.


Friday, August 27, 2010

A Congressman who is not like all the rest???

I have been trying for the past couple weeks to get an appointment with a local Congressman, they tried their best to gently lull me into understanding how busy the Congressman was...when I pushed the issue I was told I would get a meeting if an aid could work in 15 minutes ...sometime. When I pushed again they simply ignored me. The Congressman's ads say he is a new kind of congressman, one who listens to the people...well maybe so on issues he agrees with but apparently not on issues like effective and equitable sex offender legislation...after all it is an election year...look out Jackie (his opponent) I am booking a meeting with you next.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sex Offenders Meet Press

A group of former sex offenders and experts in the field of sexual offense met with members of the press Monday, following the 2nd Annual Conference of Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL). RSOL seeks to reform or repeal legislation like the Adam Walsh Act, which has a current deadline for implementation of July 1st but has only been completely adopted by 4 states.

Surprisingly RSOL does not seek for the immediate abolishment of the Sex Offender Registry but for a more directed approach to Registration and other sex offender related laws. According to Dr. Chrysandi Leon, University of Delaware, Professor of Sociology and an Expert on Sex Offender recidivism who presented at the conference, “the limited resources of law enforcement are being diluted by the blanket registration of all sex offenders.” “Credible statistical studies over the last 15 years “since the registry was implement show that “it has had no impact of the recidivism rate.” We can go back to studies from the 1940’s on, long before the registry was implemented, and show that the rate of offenses has remained remarkably consistent over the intervening years.

RSOL advocates a more directed and individualized approach to registration using scientifically based data to identify those offenders who pose a significant treat to society and who are truly “dangerous.” Right now it is impossible for parents or even law enforcement to accurately determine an offender’s potential risk because of labels such as “sexually violently predator” which are blanketedly applied to all offenders who have committed a specific set of offenses rather that using individualized assessment to apply that designation. Having over 700,000 people on the registry nation-wide makes it difficult for law enforcement to narrow the field quickly when a child goes missing.

“We are as concerned about the safety of children as anyone else” says Kelly Piercy, a former offender, and chairman of Georgians for Reform, but “we don’t believe that the current legislation is effective in doing so, it wastes resources and punishes those who are trying to reintegrate as productive citizens.”

Interestingly several children both of non-offender presenters and children of former offenders attended and roamed freely about the conference seemingly without fear of any kind.

Besides Dr. Leon, and Piercy other presenters at the conference included: Lloyd Swartz, New Mexico Registrant and Reform Advocate, J.Tom Morgan, former prosecutor and sex offender registry sponsor from Georgia who now states that “the registry no longer serves the purposes for which it was created;” Norman A. Pattis, Connecticut defense attorney, Nancy M. Steele, PhD, a Clinical Psychologist and sex offender treatment specialist, and Rev. James L. Powell, PhD, DD, a Methodist Minister whose Atlanta- based church welcomes sex offenders but under strict perimeters. Powell is also a licensed clinical psychologist and regularly counsels with former sex offenders. “There is much that the church and other community based organizations can do to mentor and help former sex offenders who want to reform,” thus increasing the net of safety that we all seek when dealing with those who have previously offended, particularly when the offense involves children.” Another presenter Mary Duval of Oklahoma, CEO of SOSEN, another sex offender advocacy group, became vehement in her fight for change, when her teenaged son Ricky was convicted of having sex with a younger teenaged girl. At that time there were no “Romeo and Juliet” laws which exempt consensual teenage sex from prosecution. Duval’s lobbying efforts help create these laws. Though completely blind, Duval actively lectures and campaigns throughout the United States, she also co-hosts weekly radio shows on ARC Talk Radio which focus on human rights and sex offender issues.

The conference concluded Monday after concentrated lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Portions of the Conference were recorded and links will soon be available online. These and other information about RSOL are available at their national website .