Upper Iowa University
Registration of convicted sexual offenders and community notification laws have generated unwavering public opinion. Over the past decade, high profile cases involving released convicted sex offenders, specifically child molesters, have sparked a public outrage from parents and victim advocate groups; both parties are continuously fighting for tougher laws to combat child victimization. In a response to outraged parents of victims, lawmakers have begun to strengthen laws against predators by enforcing longer prison sentences, GPS tracking, and community notification. However, all states maintain discretion as to how the community will receive notification. With the number of known convicted child sex offenders increasing, it is extremely vital for parents within a community to receive direct notification, from local law enforcement, of perpetrators including names and updated photos of child sex offenders- otherwise known as active communication.
Minor Information Saves a Minor a Lifetime
Over the last 25 years, state and federal law makers have made many efforts to combat convicted child molesters from victimizing additional innocent souls. The interventions proposed are a great start, though, they are weak. “Excuse me sir/ma’am, I’m here to inform you there is a newly released convicted child molester living within the community. Please be safe and keep an eye on your children. Have a nice day.” To simply render basic notification of a sexual predator within the community tantalizes the minds of parents and is not enough. For parents to better protect their children, active notification- information rendered door-to-door by local police or informational flyers- with names and updated photos of convicted child molesters is essential to prevent further victimization.
Sexual offenders are a serious threat to innocent citizens within the Nation. According to the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking [SMART], the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA, defines a sexual offender as “any individual convicted of a sexual offense” (n.d.). SORNA’s definition is very broad and sexual offense consists of more than 20 subcategories including: rape, possession of child pornography, buying and selling of children, sexual exploitation of children, and so forth (SMART, n.d.). To discuss the tainted minds of perpetrators in each category would be agonizing, cumbersome, and incessant; therefore for this dissertation, the discussion of sex offenders will be solely restricted to the repulsive child molesters.
Without updated photos of released convicts, occupants of a community will be oblivious to imminent danger. A child molester can pose to be anyone: the mail man, a deacon at church, a neighbor, a close friend of the family, anyone. Indeed child molesters are monsters on the inside, but on the outside, they appear to be everyday people: they drive cars, they play catch at the park, they devour McDonald’s French Fries, and other things. However, unlike everyday people, child molesters don’t think of children as pure and unadulterated. To them, children are a piece of puppets; there to be indulged into sick, twisted fantasies, taking their virtue with no regret, no remorse.
A Molester’s Intelligence
“If I wanted to force some smaller child into having sex, why shouldn't I....without the slightest twinge of guilt…or remorse [?]”- Alan (Alan & Hammel-Zabin, 2003)
In The Mind of a Child Molester (Alan & Hammel-Zabin, 2003), convicted child molester Alan explains how he was able to deceive and manipulate over 1,000 children without drawing attention to himself. First, Alan describes how he would choose his prey: closely observing from a distance, he’d watch the family to become familiar with their day to day activities (Alan & Hammel-Zabin, 2003). Second, Alan describes how he