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Letter: Intercourse offenders are redeemable

Approximately 100 U.S. teachers, mostly women, are charged with sex crimes each year, although many others are not reported. Matters between teachers and students are becoming more common in both the US and Europe, probably because the rise of social media has made communication easier and more private. In most European countries, the age of consent is 14 years, in the American states 16, 17 or 18 years. However, regardless of the age of the students, teachers can be viewed as predators just because their authority implies a potential for coercion. No coercion must have been applied, and the student may even have bragged about the experience to friends. However, the punishment of sex offenders is draconian and is usually disproportionate to the crime.

A 23-year-old school teacher from Minnesota recently had an affair with a 15-year-old boy and now faces seven charges, including sexual assault on a child and “brutality,” although the boy had a second encounter with her and denied it Matter to protect them. The woman who was fired from her job will now be sentenced to 40 years in prison and a fine of $ 100,000 if convicted on all charges. She could also be branded a sex offender for many years, if not for life. Your teaching career is certainly ruined.

According to an article in Reason magazine, “When people hear the term” sex offender, “they panic.” The result is that laws regulating such matters are usually chaotic, cruel, and even unconstitutional. Some states impose severe penalties for non-threatening behavior, such as B. Blitzen to be kept in a sex register for life. Some registrants are only nine years old.

The federal government demands that all 50 federal states keep registers of sex offenders, in which almost one million people are currently listed. Originally only available to law enforcement agencies, these registers are now accessible to everyone. There is no forgiveness, no second chance, regardless of how successfully the perpetrator has changed his or her life. At one time, sex crimes appeared in newspapers and then were forgotten. Today they are kept forever on the Internet, like flies in amber, long after the sentence has been served.

The idea that sex offenders are irredeemable is a myth. Sanity reports that a repeat offense occurs only 7% of the time over a five-year period. “People who commit sexual offenses have the lowest recidivism rate of almost any crime other than murder.” Only 5% of those registered had committed previous crimes. However, in their neighborhood, they may be treated like lepers forever.

Once entered in the register, they are discriminated against in terms of housing and employment. Governments can prohibit them from living, working or traveling in certain places, and even prohibit them from picking up their children from school or taking them to a park. They are generally prohibited from being within 2,000 feet of a daycare center, church, pool, playground, or place where children could congregate. Parents were banned from visiting their children in hospitals. In smaller villages this banishment leaves no room for registrants, except outside the city. Households often have to put warning posters on their doors on Halloween. Some convicts are forced to wear GPS ankle monitors for years. All of this puts a strain on families and invites employees and neighbors to avoid them.

Isn’t this a form of punishment that is completely contrary to American law and tradition?

Fortunately, the opposition has started to emerge. NGOs including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, state lawmakers, and class action law firms. They want sex laws based on research, not panic. In California, offenders can now request deletion after 10 years. 90% of the registrants will not be there for life. New York will no longer limit places to live. Ohio has ended its life-time registration of juvenile offenders. Many other states have admitted that their sexual laws are too broad, or afterthought, or cruel and unusual.

One million Americans are denied the right to a normal life. But conscientious people help put an end to this evil.

John Calvert is a retired political science teacher who lives in Fargo.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the forum’s editors or the forum owners.