This 4-part series of articles entitled Secret shame: Utah's sex offenders and their victims was written by Lucinda Dillon Kinkead and Dennis Romboy and published in the Deseret Morning News.
They are grandfathers, uncles, teachers, boyfriends, baby sitters and husbands. A few are women. Authorities say 80 percent of them know their victims.
"It's more likely to be uncle so-and-so rather than someone who grabs them," said Jeremy Shaw, a Adult Probation and Parole supervisor in the sex offender unit.
It is a dirty, exhausting, secretive, heartbreaking phenomenon, says Heather Stringfellow, who took over the helm of the Rape Recovery Center of Utah after nine years as a sex crimes and domestic violence detective.
And Utah is up to its neck in it.
Yet in Utah there is no state funding to help victims recover from their trauma. Unless that victim goes on to become a sex offender then there is a little funding for help and a lot of funding for incarceration.
Part 2: 'They're all nice guys'
UTAH STATE PRISON — Larry Burt groomed his young victim to always do what adults told her to do. [...] "I know I tried to make her believe that it's OK, I'm not physically hurting you," he said in an interview at the Utah State Prison, where he has spent the past 6 1/2 years. "You don't take into consideration it was hurting her emotionally and mentally."
Many others likely don't take into consideration the lingering and real impact of Burt's strategy when they scold rape victims for not screaming when they are raped as teenagers or adults. This scolding makes as much sense as scolding those who have had their vocal cords cut for not speaking clearly.
Is she a victim or isn't she? Julie is 26 now. It's been more than 20 years since the first sexual assault happened, but she still struggles with that question.
Is she a victim or not?
This question relates to sexual abuse which was started by her teenage stepbrother when she was 3 or 4. According to the denialists' logic if she can't accept that she was a real victim then we must respect her by viewing her as someone who was not the victim of multiple sex crimes.
What this shows is that victim blaming directed at certain victims affects all victims.
Eric Hammon, clinical director for a center that does sex-offender treatment, says he would have no problem with an offender living on his street. "If he's been through treatment, there's much more danger from someone who hasn't been caught than from someone who has."
With intense supervision this is likely true on average because awareness of a danger is important to prevention, but some treated sex offenders will do more than repeat old crimes, they will escalate.
With the danger from known and unknown sex offenders the lack of prevention funding makes no sense. Yes, talking about this stuff is difficult but silence is seen by many sex offenders as opportunity. As long as people pretend they aren't there these sex offenders can feel they will never get caught.
This is a great series because it gives readers some insight into the complexity of issues so that effective laws will be opposed by fewer people because they seem soft on crime.
hat tip: Sex Crimes