Educators usually say the most essential pillars of successful outcomes are a caring community of learners, enhancement of the learning objective, and reciprocal relationships and transparency to facilitate both sides of an issue. When it comes to an understanding, sexual offenses or those impacted by the registry, there is only one side because those that can contribute meaningful dialog are conveniently excluded or not allowed to voice objections or grievances.
I recently watched an interview with Derek Logue of the oncefallen.com website. During that CNN interview, the host interviewing Logue decided to become the loudest voice exclaiming unsubstantiated data and personal opinion rather than a dialog to understand opposing viewpoints. Logue posted on YouTube, “not my best interview,” but at least he presented a moment to introduce a differing opinion and voice. In another interview between Logue and Dr. Drew, Drew interjected his personal opinion rather than facts or supporting data that seemed more of a blindsided attempt to dissuade future opposing views. For starters, I have never met or spoken with Derek Logue, but I do congratulate him for at least standing up and advocating for a silenced minority.
But fast forward to those impacted by the registry. Why do we have tent cities, individuals living under bridges, homelessness, split families due to registry requirements, refusal for admission to disaster shelters during times of emergencies, closed internet access for offenders, and other issues? Perhaps it is due to the sensitivity of sex allegations/crimes. But those that do the reporting have no problem splattering a #metoo protest leaving no counterbalance. This discriminatory path allows sex offender advocacy a back seat on the bus endangering and hindering the lives of those attempting to go on about their business – or at least be heard? It is because sex offender advocacy can be a dangerous business.
An interesting observation about advocacy is that those affected by the registry don’t want to be further identified or already suffer from mental anguish from various reasons related to registry laws and restrictions. However, media sources have plenty of opportunities to investigate, educate and inform the public of consequences but introduce a one-sided opinion presenting no chance of culmination. A reason the voice is small is primarily that society claims to want a life of transparency and a return to productive lives – as long as it cannot be seen or heard from again.
That leads me to the question where opposition or advocacy is under attack from those that differ from a particular viewpoint? A disturbing indication of legislative and judicial censorship is a case where the OnceFallen.com website is under legal attack from those with opposing views. It brings to mind those accused of sexually based offenses but not criminally charged. Are they financially sequestered and squeezed to the point of collapse because of personal agendas? Will advocates endure the same fate? Is there that much of a threat in a democratic society where discourse is bullied or under legal threat by those with a personal agenda to silence viewpoints? It is highly alarming and disturbing because isn’t that what the First Amendment is all about?
In 1992 the Innocence Project was created to help facilitate and reopen cases where those found guilty of specific crimes were tried based on bias, false evidence, or testimony. Many cases were identified as false convictions, and that number increases today. Of the cases undertaken by the Innocence Project more than 350 cases have led to those convicted of being overturned and freed. What if the Innocence Project or OnceFallen was much more extensive and had equity voice within mainstream media? Those 6000 or more cases could find irregularities and patterns of injustice. This is not to ever imply that all convicted offenders are innocent. Instead, the dialog is that justice is not a rash form of litigation. After all, homosexuals convicted of sodomy in California or other consensual acts were eventually overturned many decades later. Those affected still feel the sting and scars of injustice being labeled as sexual deviants without a simple apology to the LGBT community. What about those wrongfully accused or convicted at the convenience of prosecutorial plea bargains primarily aimed at the poor, helpless, and difficult to defend based on he said – she said testimony?
Perhaps prosecutorial immunity should be revisited, and qualified immunity should be reconsidered. There is an apparent abuse of power based upon personal prejudice that must be addressed. Afterall, the need for transparency, a caring community of learners, enhancement of the learning objective are the pillars of justice under the law of democracy. Exposing the truth instead of opinion should be the sole basis of law and advocacy.