Saturday, May 13, 2006

Innocent Man Mistaken For Registered Offender

Washington Post

Eric Haskett was merely taking a nap in a car when he roused suspicion in a rural Frederick County neighborhood. A neighbor traced Haskett's license plate to an address once used by a registered sex offender.

Then his girlfriend's parents told him to scram; law enforcement officials, including three FBI agents, began investigating; and Haskett began fearing that the suspicions could cost him his job at a gag shop that sells such kid-friendly items as whoopie cushions.

If this sort of misunderstanding and overeaction keeps happening, public sex offender registries will become worse than useless. This case demonstrates that insufficient knowledge is a dangerous thing. If paranoia becomes rampant, it may come to the point where sex offender registries have to be removed from public view or we will need specific laws to protect those mistaken as sex offenders.

While people are panicking over the wrong people, trusted and unconvicted sex offenders will continue to have access to victims who may or may not be believed if they speak up.
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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:49 PM   1 comments links to this post


At May 13, 2006 3:47 PM, Blogger kactus said...

Or offenders who have complied with every single requirement of their parole/probation and are trying to get a new lease on life won't be able to find housing.

I have a close relative, whom I love deeply, who is a registered S.O. I don't like to talk about this because whenever I do people think I'm condoning his crime, and I'm not. I'm just saying that the potential for abuse in the registry system is too large, and in the hysteria over "stranger danger" the very real fact that most victims know their abusers is overlooked. I wish common sense instead of talking points could prevail.


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