Classification by professionals: Children would be better protected by risk classification and closer supervision of high-risk registered offenders than by putting all former offenders, dangerous or not, in the same pot. HOWEVER: Risk classification must be done by professionals with the best tools available, NOT by legislatures who define risk by the age of the victim and/or perpetrator, whether the offense involved touching or intercourse, etc; there are those (like John Couey) whose past offences were minimal, but who do not or cannot change their behavior and are truly dangerous, and there are people who have committed rape, and more than once, who, once caught, do take responsibility and face themselves, submit to treatment, and thereafter are low risk. Risk stratification must include not only criminal history but family history, current relationships, and psychiatric evaluation.
-- Debby Detering
An Elephant in a Donkey Suit: I am a solid conservative, theologically, socially, and economically. I am hesitant to write a comment on a publication where conservatives are generally unwelcome. But, this article is right on the money.
I am reflecting not only my own view here, but a commonly held view by a lot of conservatives I know. Jerry Keen may represent himself as a Christian conservative, but he is neither. What he has done with this law, both in creating it and blocking attempts in this year's legislature to fix it, is about as traditionally liberal as it can be.
Keen, and the few who support him, generated law made from greed for votes, ignoring facts, reason, common sense, and the best interests of Georgia's women and children. What he has done is without honor or virtue.
All I can say, is sic 'em, Judge Cooper. Perhaps Jerry Keen needs to be reminded that true conservatives step up, "man up", and take responsibility when they are wrong - especially when their actions result in the death of an innocent child, and harm to many others in losing homes and jobs. The 2 or 3 people who killed the child should get the death penalty. The legislators who voted for HB1059 should be considered as contributing to the poor child's death. Until Jerry "Rino" Keen does take responsibility, he just another elephant in a donkey suit.
-- Solid Conservative
Retired Police Officer: As a retired police officer with over 25 years in Law Enforcement I for one can tell you that many of these Sex offender Laws are not protecting anyone. They are more for the people we elect to office to say they are hard on crime. The people we elect have taken us for a ride. They are using these laws to get themselves a lot of free press so they will get elected again. The real truth is that over 90% of sexual assaults are committed by someone well known and trusted by the victim. And the real truth is that the repeat rate among sex offender is one of the lowest of all criminals. The US Dept. Of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics on Recidivism put the repeat rate at 3.5%. Now I am not saying all sex offender laws are bad. What I am saying that the only ones that should be on the sex offender Registry should be those who are the highest risk to reoffend. The risk scale should be left up to professionals not those we have elected to office. So if we are really trying to protect the children and the public let those we elected write some laws to set up a review board as to who should be on the SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY. And let that law make sure it is only those who are the most danger, not all sex offenders.
-- Tim P
Thank you!: Many years ago, I was convicted of a crime that I plead guilty to. I wanted to take responsibility for the mistake I had done and I plead no-contest to a charge stemming from my receiving unsolicited pictures over the internet. My crime was considered a "virtual crime" because it was a computer crime and was victimless -- there was no victim. Laws changed through the years and eventually I was required to register on the SOR, as Sex-Offenders are not grandfathered in for any law that passes after their conviction. The neighborhood we lived in did not like the idea of a sex-offender living there -- regardless of what the crime was. My wife and I were forced to move from our first house b/c the neighborhood decided to form a day-care in the basement of a nearby church and put us into violation of the 1000 foot law relating to day-care facilities. We worked with the Sheriff's office and finally found a house that was not within 1000 feet of a school, pool, playground or day care. Six months after we moved in, Keen's law took effect. We were 1000 feet from a church (no day care this time -- just a church with Sunday services only), and had 2 bus-stops within 1000 feet and again we were forced to move. We ended up having to move out of state because we were unable to find a place to live that wasn't "in violation." I am so thankful that someone has finally taken the right steps toward a fair law. I fully support taking predators out of society. But we have to be able to distinguish between a violent offender and a non-violent offender -- a predator and someone who made one mistake in their life -- never to repeat. I made that one mistake and am paying for it with every day I am alive. Thank you to Judge Cooper for taking a stand. Thank you to those that brought suit against this law. And thank you to all those whose minds are open enough to see the difference.
-- Still on the Move
Ms.: Are all sex offenders assumed to be interested in children? What good does it do to tell a man caught having sex with a man in a public park not to live near an elementary school? A man who raped an adult woman shouldn't live near a day care? Is there anyone in my neighborhood who has been paroled on a murder conviction? Any convicted drug dealers in my neighborhood? Any living near my high school? Any common sense in the legislature?