Monday, April 17, 2006

Sex Offenders Don't Deserve To Be Set Up For Murder

You may have seen the news this morning that two men with a history of sex offenses were murdered in two towns in Maine on Easter Sunday. Their names, home addresses, places of employment, and photographs were on the Maine sex offender registry. Last summer, two other sex offenders were hunted down by a vigilante in Washington State.

The Religious Institute stands firmly against violence against women and children and recognizes that child sexual abuse is a devastating social, personal, and public health problem. But I personally believe that computerized offender registries that don't differentiate between pedophiles and 17 year olds that have sex with 15 year olds -- and that basically provide a map to the homes where people who have served time and presumably have had treatment live -- offer little more than a false sense of security about sexual abuse prevention. The reality is that in 90% of cases children are abused by people they know well -- family members, family friends, coaches, teachers, babysitters, and clergy. Rounding up sex offenders, putting them on lists, restricting where they can live and so on will not keep your children safe; educating them and educating yourself will as well as making sure your church, school, and community agency do adequate screening of their staff and volunteers.

How many people must be murdered in cold blood before effective screening and treatment programs replace online lists as the way to protect our children?

To order a copy of my book, "A Time to Heal: Protecting Children and Ministering to Sex Offenders" call Lifequest Publications at 419-872-7448.

(I'm off to speak at Princeton University on Wednesday as the guest of the Department of Religion and the Women's Center. Check back here Thursday afternoon to see how it went.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sex offenders - protect the kids.