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Is SORNA Right for Rhode Island?

The majority of states have rejected SORNA. Now it is Rhode Island's turn to decide.

The Rhode Island legislature is facing a decision that will shape the future of a good portion of its criminal justice system. It must decide whether or not to adopt legislation that will bring the state into compliance with SORNA, the sex offender registration and notification act, which is title 1 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-248).

State Rep. Peter G. Palumbo (D – Cranston), author of the bill, uses language in his defense of it that encourages the public to believe that every person on the registry, between 400,000 and 700,000 souls, depending on whose numbers you believe, in ages ranging from nine to ninety, and in seriousness ranging from false accusations to misdemeanors to felonies, every one of them, is a predator and virtually certain to repeat a horrible offense that threatens everyone everywhere.

"As long as there is one sex offender out there that we cannot account for, there is the potential for great harm, the potential for another victim," he is reported as saying by WPRI.com (http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/state-rep-pushes-new-sex-offender-bill). The word "potential" is used to justify the use of a fear-mongering and unsupported—and unsupportable-- statement.

Children and youth are at much greater risk of ending up on the sex offender registry than they are of being harmed by someone on it. Juveniles comprise up to a third of new registrants to registries across the states and are responsible for over a third of sexual crime against other minors (Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire) and, under this legislation, will be registered on the adult registry, a major reason that many states have rejected SORNA.

95% of sexual crime is committed by those never before convicted of a sexual offense and therefore not on a registry (Sandler, Freeman, and Socia, Does A Watched Pot Boil?) Registered sex offenders account for less than 5% of sexual crime against minors (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Statistical Briefing Book, 2008). Cases of strangers targeting children and teens are rare; they are molested almost totally by those in their lives with whom they have close and trusting relationships. How can a system that focuses solely on those who are already registered be a useful tool in lowering the rate of sexual crime when those committing the majority of the crime are not on the registry?

Rep. Palumbo also suggests that the state will actually save money by implementing this legislation. “…making one central agency [the R.I. state police] responsible for this process will free up local law enforcement resources and save communities money.” This has not been the experience of other states that have implemented SORNA. In addition to requiring a huge budget over and above federal allotments, states are finding themselves faced with multiple lawsuits from registrants who, by virtue of SORNA, are automatically raised from a low risk level to a high one and are protesting the change in the plea agreements they made at sentencing as well as now finding themselves subject to ex-post facto laws.

This legislation address only individuals who are on the registry. It will have no effect on Rhode Island's rate of sexual offending nor will it leave anything with which to address sexual crime against the much larger population. Is this what Rhode Island wants or deserves?

 

 RSOL promotes the elimination of sexual abuse and the preservation of civil rights for all individuals through the use of effective legislation based on empirical research. We envision sexual offense laws based on equal justice and respect for the dignity of all people, protection from retroactively applied punishment, and the establishment of fact-based laws and policies that protect our communities.

 

 

 

 

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

harperlee February 28, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Is any recidivism rate for any crime or offense "acceptable"? What does that mean? Are we happy that a very small percentage of offenders will continue offending? Of course not. This is even truer when it comes to innocent children, especially our own. Can we remove all risk from their world? Of course not again.Why are we so obsessed with sexual abuse of children to the point of paying scant attention to all the other forms of harm and abuse they suffer? Of all the abuse visited upon children, sexual abuse makes up 7.6%. Is that acceptable? Of course not. But why is the other 92.4% acceptable? When is the last time you wrote letters protesting children being beaten by their parents or entire families being victims of domestic violence? Of all the sex abuse children suffer, registered offenders are responsible for no more than 2%. Is that acceptable? Of course not. But why is the other 98% acceptable? Have you tried to help the 98%? Have you lobbied your school board for age-appropriate sex abuse prevention programs in the schools? Have you volunteered to help at centers that offer victim services? If you really care about the harm being done to children and others, get involved. All of the things that will actually do some good--victim services, meaningful rehabilitation for first time offenders, education and prevention programs--are provided by the private sector, not our huge "sex-offender industry. Get involved where it will help.
OldTownie February 28, 2013 at 10:28 PM
If 2% of the persons responsible for child sexual abuse are registered sex offenders, then that's the rub, isn't it? That 2% should have been watched closer as they have already offended, yes? Why do you think the number is only 2%? Because we have put very strict residence laws in place to keep these predators away from our children. You really want to portray sexual predators as victims? No rational person is ever going to accept that one. Sorry, your wasting your time.
DogofWar March 01, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Wait, OldTownie. You speak of Nambla, when the creator, owner, and top contributor of the blog you mention is a transgendered sadist, Cynthia Jean (dale) Harvey that has been found guilty of lying in court regarding sexual abuse? Yeah, that is the person I want to uphold as someone worthy. We can read more about her here: http://www.evil-unveiled.info/2007/01/rookiee-determinedpj.html
OldTownie March 01, 2013 at 03:47 PM
I think the pedophile supporters "doth protest too much".
See the Truth March 01, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Old Townie, I feel you have no desire to become more enlightened, you are simply here to spew out your hate. If you really cared about this issue, you would do some research as to who those people on the sex offender registry are. People here have told you that it is a BIG LIE that most of them are predators, (the government perpetrates this lie) and that sex offenses only account for a small percentage of abuses against children, yet you are oblivious to those facts. Why are you so obsessed with sex? When children are suffering emotional and other abuses, you only focus on sex. You are one of those many people in this country who suffer from a sexual disfunction induced by religion and government. Of course, I don't expect you to understand that, given the limited brain power you were born with, but I hope someone out there will.
OldTownie March 01, 2013 at 08:27 PM
See the truth, Be careful, there is a little bit of the NAMBLA message in your post. I find it disturbing that you think my aversion to people sexually assaulting children is a "a sexual disfunction induced by religion and government". Sounds a little warped to me.
RSOL March 01, 2013 at 09:31 PM
RSOL's message is that the current sex offender laws do not provide for public safety and in fact decrease from public safety by diverting attention and resources away from what is needed to protect children and all in society from sexual harm. Remember our vision statement: RSOL envisions effective, fact-based sexual offense laws and policies which promote public safety, safeguard civil liberties, honor human dignity, and offer holistic prevention, healing, and restoration. Our message and our vision will best be proclaimed by our supporters if we focus on them and do not become detracted by negativism or embroiled in personal attacks. Every person has dignity and worth and is entitled to his or her opinion. Stick to evidence-based facts and truth; keep the high ground. Thank you.
Suzanne Arena March 05, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Their MISSION: "RSOL will promote laws and programs: limiting registry access strictly to law enforcement agencies; terminating registry requirements upon completion of a court-imposed sentence; reversing retroactively applied restrictions; reforming civil commitment processes; rehumanizing, rehabilitating, and reintegrating former offenders; increasing public safety by reducing sexual offenses; and reducing acts of discrimination, hatred, and violence directed at sexual offenders." another ACLU working for the underdog (SEX OFFENDERS). I do not agree with what you put out there I do not believe in rehabilitation.
RSOL March 05, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Thank you, Suzanne; all opinions are appreciated. Thank you for visiting our website. When you say you do not believe in rehabilitation, do you mean that you do not believe that it should be offered, or do you believe that that it does not work?
OldTownie March 05, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Suzanne, It's worse than you think. These people seem to have some involvement with NAMBLA. Google it.
OldTownie March 05, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Hey RSOL, I guess this guy is part of your 5.3%, huh? I better your "holistic prevention" would have stopped him. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/tara-willenborg-dead-arrest_n_2806539.html?utm_hp_ref=crime&icid=maing-grid7%7Chp-laptop%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D278440
Suzanne Arena March 06, 2013 at 12:07 PM
@RSOL. Your purpose is pretty clear: promote laws and programs: ◦limitin...g registry access strictly to law enforcement agencies; ◦terminating registry requirements upon completion of a court-imposed sentence; ◦reversing retroactively applied restrictions; ◦reforming civil commitment processes; ◦rehumanizing, rehabilitating, and reintegrating former offenders; ◦increasing public safety by reducing sexual offenses; and ◦reducing acts of discrimination, hatred, and violence directed at sexual offenders." No, I do not believe in fairytales and I DO NOT believe that S.O. who victimize children will ever be cured. However, some reports have shown the Chemically Castrating could suppress the impulse....although I would love to see a study with that specific population. I am not addressing anymore...the fact of the matter, that you drink their purple cool-aide I need not explain anymore.
Kris March 09, 2013 at 06:50 AM
RSOL makes perfect sense, many folks on the registry do not have a high reoffend rate and have either paid for their crimes , or on the registry for non-serious reasons, or have allegedly commit a crime so long ago with doubts or were forced into a plea agreement and have had a clean record. Why is sorna stupid, its because a murderer, arsonist, robber, burglar, drug dealer, drunk driver, scammer, car thief, etc is not on the registry, but a 17 year old teenager who takes a non-nude modeling photo of himself in a suggestive pose is on the registry (pictures need not be shared), or a women who writes a novel about sex abuse (child porn does not have to an image it can text). Whoever defends the status quo and wants to expand the registry really is buying into politicians claims who have lobbyists and want to run for higher office, really who would you rather have living in your neighborhood, an arsonists or robber, or one who sells your child drugs, or a women who writes a novel about sex abuse? I for not do not buy politicians "kool aid"..
Maria Cabral March 09, 2013 at 12:05 PM
I guess the Patch moderators have fallen asleep at the wheel, particularly the one who approved this blog for publication. Reading through the comments, it's clear that those who are advocating on behalf of sex offenders and other predators are from a relatively small geographical area encompassing Brooklyn and Riverhead (Long Island), NY. I'm thinking that they meet in back rooms of public libraries in the area and commiserate with each other concerning how THEY are the victims. I think that castration is an inappropriate punishment for these monsters. I believe that anyone who is convicted of molesting a minor -- and thus irreparably destroying that child's life -- should have his or her arms surgically removed and the word "rapist" tattooed (in reverse) on their foreheads. This would accomplish 3 things: 1) Every morning when they look in the mirror, they would be reminded of what they are. 2) Because they aren't castrated, they would be good and mad about the manner in which society had punished them. 3) Anyone who had ever been abused by these monsters would be free to pick up a 2x4 or a brick or a good sturdy baseball bat and beat the living piss out of them. Without their arms these predators would be as defenseless as the children they had destroyed in the first place. Sandy McGee, you are being abused when you agree post "articles" like this. In fact, pieces of this nature will cause your readers to leave Patch in droves. Shame on you.
RSOL March 09, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Hello, Maria. Thank you for your interest in our organization. RSOL is a national organization, incorporated, and we have affiliate organizations in three-fourths of our states, from California to Maine. I ask you to check our website, www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org. Our total organization encompasses many thousands of people. We are moms and dads. We are teachers, attorneys, and doctors. We are registrants, former registrants, family members of registrants, and many who are just citizens concerned about several important issues. One is the erosion of civil liberties and constitutional freedoms. We have studied the patterns of history and know that once a nation starts down the path of denying these to any group of citizens, it always grows and grows. Another is our concern for children and our angst that, while the public believes that the current system serves to protect them and works for general public safety, it actually does neither and is the opposite of what research shows will work. In case you didn't read the blurb at the end of the article, it says this: "RSOL promotes the elimination of sexual abuse and the preservation of civil rights for all individuals through the use of effective legislation based on empirical research. We envision sexual offense laws based on equal justice and respect for the dignity of all people, protection from retroactively applied punishment, and the establishment of fact-based laws and policies that protect our communities."
RSOL March 09, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Maria, cont. Again, thank you for reading our article. We hope you will look through our website.
Suzanne Arena March 09, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Examples sited of a 17 year old male taking Nude pictures left out the RECIPIENT which got him in trouble with his 12 year old girlfriend. I have always agreed that a S.O.Tatoo beteen the eyes would aid in our community notice with Scarlett letters. Maria, you are correct....but the problem with this RSOL group is they are not worth more of our time. Their website I sophisticated and looks something like sounds like Scientology. Clearly anyone that is not speaking up for Sex Offenders to have more rights than they already have, will see from these comments and the Mission of ROSL is on the dark side of the protection of our communites Health, Safety and Welfare. Removal of this post is unnecessary because the arguments we put forth expose their lunacy and their projection of feeding S.O. Community. SORNA is a much needed Federal protection over our State that supplies us with added protection and more $$$$
OldTownie March 09, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Good job Suzanne
Valerie Parkhurst March 12, 2013 at 09:23 AM
RSOL is hell bent on minimizing the repercussions to those who feed off society by unzipping their pants. Its their mantra to distort re-offense rates and seek to go back underground. Its what they do. I suppose if I were to be named on the most vile list in society I would seek to go incognito also. But make no mistake .. the system doesnt want to house, feed or bury these poor excuses for DNA so they put them on a list with a huge "beware" sign. There is a reason for this and regardless of how many times RSOL wants to distort the dangers, the majority of those listed should be sitting in a cell ,not free to blog how over-prosecuted and under-served they are. There are remedies for offenders to petition off the list. If an offender meets those pre-requisites, society can usually live with that. Truth being told most "cannot" due to the heinousness of their crimes. That is why RSOL is on a mad-dash to abolish the registry. RSOL's objective is for offenders to go back underground and have the freedom to decimate the boundaries between sex with adults and children. At the end of the day thats what it boils down too. RSOL is a vocal group whose roots stem from Nambla no more, no less. They are NOT to be acknowledged in a healthy society.
Valerie Parkhurst March 12, 2013 at 09:33 AM
The REAL RECIDIVISM STUDIES 1) One approach is to extrapolate a true crime rate from victimization surveys and compare that with reported crime, typically finding that roughly "90% "of sex crimes go unreported. Some put the estimate even higher.. 2)One of the main problems with recidivism studies is that all studies measure it differently and define it differently," 3)One long-term study of sex offenders from Canada measured recidivism seven ways. The highest rate, 88.3%, included prior, undetected sexual offenses "confessed by first-time convicts". 4)But Ohio Northern University criminologist Keith Durkin points to anonymous surveys in which sex offenders "admit to as many undetected offenses as the number for which they have been caught". He views 50% as a "conservative" estimate for recidivism. 5)Young, violent offenders who suffer from mental illness, use alcohol or drugs and target very young victims "outside their family" pose the biggest risk. kinda blows that 1994 RSOL 2-5% BS right out the window Uh?
Valerie Parkhurst March 12, 2013 at 10:49 AM
For a better perspective look at some of RSOL's members: Paul Shannon (teacher & peace educator)Friend and supporter of Paul Shanley, a former priest convicted for raping young boys. French Wall (editor) NAMBLA defender Jacqueline Sparling (writer, criminal-justice activist, professor) aka Jackie Sparling - Wife of Donald Sparling, RSO; conspired with another pedophile to lure a 13 year old to New York, with the intention of making her a sex slave and impregnating her. Thomas W. Robinson (writer) RSO - Lewd act on child; victim was a 1 (one) year old girl Cheryl Sartain (real estate broker) Wife of sex offender, Alvin Sartain, convicted of 38 counts of sexual assault and incest. He raped her 9 year old daughter, and Cheryl hid with him from the police.
Valerie Parkhurst March 12, 2013 at 10:59 AM
Madeline Kockler (registered nurse, mother of sex offender) Kenneth Kockler - RSO, convicted of sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, for molesting a young teenager; then was charged for rape, aggravated sexual battery and attempted forcible sodomy in 2003 for molesting an even younger child. He is a former Middle School teacher. Liz Joroszynski (mother of internet sex offender) John Joroszynski RSO - Convicted of traveling for intent to have sex with 10-year-old child Rev. Dr. C. David Hess (pastor) RSO - Attempt possession of child pornography Think about it? Do you want the wive's, sister's, girlfriends, mothers, fathers of these freaks making social policy on this Issue? I dont think so. In their eyes, any repercussions to these misfits is a social injustice, but behind closed doors?? RSOL is a conglomerate of deviants and or their pillow partners and family members who want to appear mainstream..
Suzanne Arena March 12, 2013 at 11:16 AM
ROSL Uncovered, thank you Sleuth Parkhurst!! Standing O to you...Nice work. I have always believed the recidivism rates that these types pimp to us are distorted. In fact, when you get to know enough law enforcement (i.e., correctional officers), they will validate that the average Sex Crimer is back in jail with a long rap sheet.
Valerie Parkhurst March 30, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Maddy our little immigrant whose family consist of a bunch of crossovers who get their kicks out of having illegal sex with any warm body thats around ..here is your proof. The California chapter of the"" Reform Sex Offender Laws organization"""RSOL will have its first Orange County meeting later this month in Buena Park. The national organization attributes much of its growth to the late Tom Reeves, a founding member of the ""North American Man/Boy Love Association"" NAMBLA. Reeves, who also went by "Alex Marbury", died of heart failure on Feb. 19. He was 72 years old. Shana Writes: I have agreed to be the Facebook page admin and "manager" for the"" NY chapter of RSOL!""" I am very excited and have some ideas, although I am sure that there is a lot I haven't thought of, either. I just created it a little while ago, and plan to really get going on it tomorrow (right now it's just the logo and basic information). Do I hear a duck quackin Maddy????
Valerie Parkhurst March 30, 2013 at 01:27 PM
almost fell off my chair with that one..trying to link the ultimate perv who liked having sexs with little boys to Martin Luther King?? now thats funny ..
Valerie Parkhurst March 30, 2013 at 01:35 PM
RSOL uses the sentence ""RSOL promotes the elimination of sexual abuse and the preservation of civil rights for all individuals through the use of effective legislation based on empirical research" as a punchline to soften their message that sex with kids is ok in their book. Ya wanna know who RSOL really is? Ask about their members convictions? Most have crimes that warrant a needle stuck in their arm, but where are they?? Here on a public forum attempting to gain sympathy and trying to enlighten the public. If the public became enlightened to RSOL's members? It would set their hair on fire..
Valerie Parkhurst March 30, 2013 at 01:59 PM
In the last 4 days the number of Convicted sex offenders re-arrested for new sexual crimes would indicate that these guys must have coupons in their pockets to re-offend. Its mindboggling how RSOL can perpetrate the "low recidivism BS" that they do. It has become woefully apparent that re-integration into society is not working. The NEW crop of victims is an indicator that the closer we allow this sub culture of offenders closer to our families the more dangerous to the public they truly are. Whats even more apparent is the women who ingratiate their children to these offenders are serving their kids up buffet style to these people and handing them a fork to feed with. We know sex offenders need a list, but I am coming to a very certain conclusion that the women who defend them and or sleeping with them need their own registry also..
Suzanne Arena April 11, 2013 at 02:54 AM
SORNA Bill to be heard at rise tomorrow the 11th in the Finance Committee.
Jay April 14, 2013 at 06:55 AM
Maybe Suzaane is one of them women in the past who had lied to a man & had intercourse. Now this man faces serious issues with SORNA. Moral point is most sex offences are punshied without a jury or even evidence. Your word against thers. Just another John Walsh who was not paying attention in a department store. Violent Sex Offenders, murders, & child molesters who molest childeren under 13 should be watched. Not some guy who urinated on a wall, or a guy who wrestled with a young girl who knew right from wrong in the first place. Teens can pick up a gun & blow someones brains out & they can lie. If you dont want your children harmed, then stop messing around, & watch them closely. You paid your debt to society you should be a free man until convicted again. The registry is Unconstitutional. Ohio was the first to adopt it, & having serious issues until this day. I am a registered sex offender under a M3 in the state of Ohio 'cause I wrestled with a girl 13 years younger than me at the time. I amdited to accsidently touching her left breast. The cops tried accusing for more. So, I wanted the rape kit done, & the polygraph done. The girls family didn't. The judge found me guilty, served two years of probabtion, paid 800 bucks in court fines, & no plea bargain. Now I am a sex offender for 15 years under a Tier 1. I hope to God this ever happens to you or anyone else. Its harsher than you think.
Valerie Parkhurst April 14, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Hey Jay, your version of the "woe to me" events of your circumstance/conviction doesnt ring true when you preface your post with accusing a poster of false rape due to the fact she and others can see thru an offenders pathetic never-ending "wrong place-wrong time, never happened tale of woe. Trust me, never a good opening line. I keep telling you convicts to run your post thru someone who graduated high school but do ya listen??? OH and taking a hit at the Walsh family for your percieved injustice is NEVER a persuasive second line either. (typical RSOL aka Nambla) tactic. Hey Jay? I'll bet you have been telling that wrestling story so long now , even you believe thats how it went down right? Nothin for nothin but you convicts should consider the 15 years on the registry a Christmas present. Truth being told and if your victim and or her parents landed on this forum, I'll bet their recollection of events would be alot different than yours.. we anti's lay bets on guys like you, we know you will make Tier 2 in under 5 years..

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