The concept [registering accused sex offenders who haven't been convicted] was offered by Roman Catholic bishops as an alternative to opening a one-time window for the filing of civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse that occurred as long as 35 years ago.Frankly, it raises a red flag for me when a concept is offered by a group attempting to protect itself against the consequences of years of covering up the sexual abuse and assault committed by priests.
For those who are cheap this might sound like a great idea. Rather than spending money on a lengthy trial and prison term, just add the accused to the registry and tell the public it is up to them to avoid any dangerous contact with those on the registry.
This could take victim blaming to new heights. First, if the victim fails to check this registry. Second, if the victim doesn't ask a judge to add their assailant to this list. Third, if the victim does ask a judge to add their assailant to this list.
Then there's the provision that would allow those listed under this provision to petition to have their name removed after six years. As if six years were some magical safe number.
Eventually a registry like this combined with all the other registries could begin getting as cumbersome as a stack of phone books and once that happens, the usefulness of sex offender registries to help law enforcement quickly find the dangerous needles in the haystack of state residents starts diminishing.
Make no mistake, the problem is real, which means it is imperative that no proposal be rubber stamped.
Technorati tags: rape crime politics sexual violence sexual assault feminism