Sexual Predators Exploratory Essays Research Paper

sSexual Predators

Childhood is supposed to be a time of discovery and play, not abuse. Was there ever such a world? Sexual predators have been lurking this planet for decades; now they’re being marked for life because of there actions. Neighbors and the home towns of sexual predators are being alerted of their crimes and whereabouts by local police. Such towns have responded by putting up signs in their town, “CHILD MOLESTER TWO DOORS DOWN” (Popkin, pg 73). Others responded by burning or flooding their new neighbors out (Popkin). What did these convicted criminals do to deserve such punishment? They violated the most precious living creature on this planet, a child. Communities definitely have a right to know that a dangerous child molester is moving to their town.


Child molesters have been convicted, charged and sentenced for their crimes for many years. Maybe people already have one as their next door neighbor. Do people really know the people they live by so well, that they would leave their own child with them? Also, if they had a legal right to, would they check out their neighbor’s history at the police office, or trust them?


In the summer of 1994, seven-year-old Megan Kanka was kidnapped, raped, then killed by convicted child molester Jesse Timmendequas. Her story started many parents to question the safety of their own children. The outraged community was never informed that Timmendequas and two other convicted child abusers had moved in across the street from Megan (Megan Kanka).


Megan’s death lit her parents’ fires to do something about notifying communities of convicted child molesters. They began to lobby for “Megan’s Law”, a law that would require immediate community notification of convicted child abusers, who were living in their area (Popkin). Some critics contend that the law is unconstitutional because it adds additional punishment to offenders (Megan’s Unfinished Legacy). Other critics say that it would drive predators into hiding and away from seeking counsel. Child molester Scott Murphy said, “Without counseling, you’re the same person when you go to jail as when you get out”(Popkin, pg.73). Before the passing of the law, a group of offenders appealed the judges’ ruling that the notification was unconstitutional because it’s intended to protect children, not further punish criminals (Megan’s Unfinished Legacy). The law was passed.


The biggest problem that police officers face is determining which released sex offenders are the most dangerous. No matter how ‘dangerous’, communities should still be notified or the abusers should be put into counseling immediately. The other option to counseling is medical treatment, as in drugs. Chemical treatments and the intensive counseling sessions together seem to be the most effective. Without even knowing the origin of the cause, the treatments are working (Popkin).


A December 1996 report showed that twenty-six states automatically notified communities of abusers; fourteen states had access to reports and eleven states had no access at all. Another option presented to the different states, was the decision whether or not to hold dangerous sex offenders in mental institutions after their prison sentence. Only seven states have chosen to do so(Adler; Annin).


This report is misleading. A personal telephone call to the Grand Junction District Attorney’s office would find one with no answers. Just asking for statistics, no names, one would be told that they don’t have that information and even if they did, they couldn’t release it because it was protected(District Attorney). This is shocking because, as of September 1997, Megan’s Law was supposed to be in full effect. Thus, making it possible for anyone to know about convicted child abusers in their town. It was also supposed to be mandatory that local authorities sent out notifications about the abusers. One would also find it difficult to find this information anywhere else. Not one local child abuse center or sheriff’s office could tell you anything about the reports(District Attorney). On the other hand, there have been bulletins released within certain counties to neighbors of convicted child abusers. This is good because parents can be aware of the predators whereabouts. However, local officials should make the reports more readily available.


Megan’s law led to the passage of eight companion bills-some of which had been pending in the Legislature for more than a year(Carter). The new law also led to the quick arrests of convicted sex offenders, who had been released and had struck again. This was possible with the new requirement of making them register with their local police. When they register, they are fingerprinted and DNA samples are taken (Carter). The police can run checks with their records and easily match them if they are registered. This is good because they can hopefully catch the abusers when they are still in the area. It also helps the police to find the predators if they go out of state easily. Before this program, police were just going on circumstantial evidence. Now, they know if the predator has committed a crime before and some of his characteristics because they have his DNA from the crime scene. This new way of registering the offenders and taking their DNA has shown to be the most effective in convincing criminals to not recommit crimes ( Carter).


The strongest deterrent to repeat child abusers is stiffer prison sentences. Suggestion of the death penalty is rumor in many district and state court rooms. Unlike most offenses that are brought up in court, child abuse cases are worrying the judges more and more. Seeing a child violated and murdered lets them see how innocence can be stripped away so easily. One federal judge commented, “He(Timmendequas) is exactly the type of criminal they had in mind when they implemented the death penalty” (Megan’s Unfinished Legacy).


One state official said that there was no ’empirical data’ showing that Megan’s law or the related laws have reduced the number of violent sex crimes against children. No state agencies even keep such information ( Carter). This and many other questions remain unanswered, but the states are still trying to implement the law within their system; so it’s really too early to draw conclusions. At the same time, millions of children are being killed, families torn apart; and has left officials scrambling for a cure for this plague of inhumanity. The best they can do for now is to alert communities of the released child abusers whereabouts and hope that they don’t strike again.

Bibliography

Adler, Jerry; Annin, Peter. “Too Dangerous to Set Free?”. Newsweek. December 9, 1996. pgs. 38-39.

Carter, Kathy Barrett. “In The Years Since Girl’s Killing, Megan’s Law Has Transformed Sex Offenders Rules”. Star-Ledger . July 23, 1995. Sect. 1, pg. 23.

Child Molesters. (1997). Megan.Kanka.{On-line}. May 30, 1997. Available:Megan/Kanka http:// www.cnn.com/US/9705/30/Megan.Kanka/ . Search: Internet. November 5, 1997.

Child Molesters.(1997). Megan’s Unfinished Legacy. {On-line}. May 30, 1997. Available: http://www.Megan’sunfinishedlegacy.htm/. Search: Internet. November 5, 1997.

District Attorney. Secretary, Grand Junction District Attorney. Phone Call. November 5, 1997.

McNeill, Brian H. . “Poverty Causes Abuse”. Child Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints . Bender, David. Greenhaven Press, Inc. New York, New York. 1994.

Popkin, James. “Natural Born Predators”. U.S. News and World Report . September 19, 1994. pgs. 64-73.