The ACLU is Not Our Friend

Since the beginning of President Trump’s tenure, there has been rhetoric about immigration, and violent sex offenders turned loose from prisons. Leading the way is, supposedly, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). But the ACLU has habitually missed significant steps forward in fighting for the rights of those impacted by the sex offender registry. Instead, the ACLU failed to identify the inaccuracies, injustices, and misinformation about sex offender registries. Instead the ACLU focused upon people that are not American citizens and have direct diplomatic relations with their respective nations to highlight an obvious problem. Registrants have no constituencies what so ever. While I think it is essential to protect all people, the American based (ACLU) focused on non-Americans to grow its membership internationally, alienating sex offenders, families, allies, and most of all the common American citizen.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The ACLU has had since the 2006 federal passage to a nationally based sex offender registry has failed to become involved in the sex offender registry issues. Anyone that performs a web search where the ACLU has become a defender of registry issues may be in for quite a surprise. The ACLU has made no real effort to fight for the rights of registrants and their families. However, when a case such as Packingham v. North Carolina or the recent Michigan Doe vSnyder, the national ACLU will take credit for something it didn’t really have an initial substantial interest or follow-up after the fact. The ACLU habitually misses civil justice by quickly touting a win in the courtroom but failing to apply that win to the public for immediate use. It is deeply saddening and an injustice to all of those impacted by the sex offender registry that the ACLU has done nothing to enforce the rulings after the fact or to become involved in complex registry issues. The lack of representation by a nationally known organization somewhat renames the ACLU to the “Abandoned Civil Liberties Union.”

Sure, there can be a supporting argument that Michigan ACLU did a marvelous job in protections of those impacted and punished by sex offender registries. However, it is safe to say that the national ACLU didn’t lend the Michigan chapter much support. Instead, I foresee the ACLU with an agenda to further other registries without taking into consideration that “all registries do harm” approach. Therefore, I am a skeptic of the ACLU because the organization fails to embrace the sex offense conversation and the collateral consequences associated with registries.

Over the past year, I and many others have reached out to form partnerships, memberships, and request guidance or assistance for blatant human rights violations of registered sex offenders particularly in North Carolina or the national level. Such developments surround the Alabama Castration law, registrants in North Carolina unable to attend religious services, and the Georgia Halloween issue that quickly spread into North Carolina that still goes unanswered and unchallenged. Each and every time, I received a reply that β€œthe ACLU is unable to provide assistance at this time.” My question to the ACLU is, “when is an approrpiate time?” Thos on the sex offender registry have endured ex post facto policies and inhumane liberties for decades. Yet the ACLU rushes to the #MeToo movement alienating simple Americans because they are not as cash rich as the Hollywood machine to capitalize a money gravy train. When the ACLU fails to address the complexities of sex offender registry issues presents a harsh reality to the sex offender community that the ACLU has given its stance about sex offender registry rights by completly ignoring them and will continue to ignore them.

But one thing is for sure, the ACLU and its chapters are quick to send out a mass mailing or email to beg for our money. It presents an appearance that the ACLU has migrated from grassroots to become a cash-for-rights agency, or it appears to be the reality for most registrants.

People listed on the sex registry, not on probation or monitored, are banned from religious services, banned from public spaces, banned from picking up or dropping off their children from school or daycare, banned from attending church, banned from visiting a state fair, banned from Facebook or other social medial platforms, cannot vacation or commercial properties in Florida or other states without registering within so many hours or the threat of jail. Yet, the ACLU remains invisible to sex offender registrants. The harsh reality is that at least those detained in an immigration holding center have more freedoms and representations than a person affected by the sex offender registry because they may do all those things mentioned once released. Immigrants are not living under a bridge, homeless, jobless, have a sex offender stamp printed on their driver’s license or passport, can receive health care, and assistance for legal advice. Registrants do not have these basic needs and equal access to these rights as Americans.

Civil rights begin right here on our doorsteps. Our nation relies upon effective leadership and organizations to advocate our concerns. But the ACLU with its ennoormous tax-free breaks and agenda on the backs of hard working Americans has gone to the wayside in the name of big donors and publicity of the easy tasks. The ACLU has become an agency center-stage to politicize its agenda by involving itself in the center of the #MeToo movement. Doing so presents a one-sided advocacy that rather than a focus on liberty and justice for all which implies both sides. Clearly the ACLU doesnt seem to care about liberty and justice unless it is profitable for them and allows easy access in giving the ACLU sole recognition value for hard work done by grass-roots advocates. The nearly 1 million registrants and their families have been significantly let down by the ACLU.

The purpose of “Me Too”, as initially voiced by Tarana Burke as well as those who later adopted the tactic, is to empower women through empathy and strength in numbers, especially young and vulnerable women, by visibly demonstrating how many women have survived sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

The ACLU has had nearly a decade to identify through various high profile federal cases grass-roots organizations to help benefit their primary cause and mission statement. Organizations such as NARSOL, ACSOL, WAR, and other state-affiliated organizations seek a relationship with the ACLU. But perhaps the ACLU is too ashamed to deal with real problems or association? With almost a million registrants, there doesn’t seem to be a blip on the radar screen that the ACLU is an ally the registry community can rely upon or trust. Civil liberties don’t take sides. It is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country. This is where the ACLU has failed us and will continue to do so until the registry community hold them accountable for for abandoning registrants. Registrants are not seeking to overturn convictions. Registrants are simply asking for liberty to be preserved after incarseration or sentencing once completed.

We must immediately stop any contributions to the ACLU financially and socially until it returns towards its grassroots of defending liberty and civility for all citizens. Registrants can no longer depend on the ACLU name to support unjust causes – unless, of course, you have a significant cash reserve to present to them. The ACLU must stop acting like a social club with a velvet rope among the very supporters of liberty. Perhaps it is time to close the good ole boys club and support real causes that affect real people?

Eventually, the ACLU will become ensnared into the registry somehow. I certainly do not wish that upon anyone. However, for the lack of ACLU representation amongst us it will perhaps take years of trust building to return towards a civil and educative conversation. The ACLU has abandoned those impacted by the sex offender registry and should be ashamed to call itself an national organization that “defends and preserves the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country. ” A friend would not abandon another brother.

Setting A Standard For Sex Offender Advocacy

If you have been cyberstalked, cyberbullied, or fallen prey to the donation scams in the “name of advocacy”, I encourage you to contact your local law enforcement

Ever since the inception of the sex offender registry personal information of whereabouts, vehicles, jobs, schools, and other sensitive information is for the public to use at a cost that could leave registrants and family members vulnerable towards predatory behaviors by those that choose to use the registry as a cyberstalking tool. Recently I encountered trolling that quickly developed into a criminal cyberstalking incident that authorities alerted my family and me. Because it was a personal matter, there was no need to involve organizations or others. However, local deputies and authorities from other states suddenly changed that narrative as it came to my attention that organizations had been contacted with threats of intimidation made – and continues today. I brushed most of the noise off and went back to business as usual. But it was my family, my university, and my friends that saw significant safety concerns and decided to escalate the issue much further by contacting police to file a formal complaint.

Ethical Standards. Principles that when followed, promote values such as trust, good behavior, fairness, and/or kindness. There is not one consistent set of standards that all companies follow, but each company has the right to develop the standards that are meaningful for their organization.

Local law enforcement authorities sat me down and began asking lots of questions about my memberships with various registry organizations. It was then I started to take notice that something wasn’t quite right. I felt as if the mood was shifting that the very organizations I choose to represent may have aggressive or perhaps criminal behaviors associated with them? My complaint was quickly handed over to federal agents that peppered me with questions. I felt as if my association with advocacy had taken a wrong turn to become involved with a criminal organization meant to harm individuals. At least that was the perception I was presented. The information, evidence, and pages upon pages of graphic details dating back almost a decade were enough to make me think critically that perhaps some within advocacy wish to intimidate both externally and internally. Unlicensed, unregistered, fake company names with many pseudo names changed over the years to cyberstalk, cyberbully, and disruption of organizations. But it didn’t stop there. The same tactics were and are being used to target advocates from within the organization. If federal authorities were presenting this as a warning along with internet protocol addresses with locations, then the information provided by other organizations, people and a university was eye-opening as well into the criminal behaviors and practices that tarnish the reputation of law-abiding advocacy organizations and its membership. It was a very sad moment to learn a consistant pattern of cyberstalking and cyberbullying actions from within the registry community bringing an agenda of harm and harrassment fellow registry advocates.

Cyber-bullying is when a person is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen, or teen using interactive and digital technologies, such as the Internet or through phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it becomes cyber-harassment or cyberstalking

Companies and organizations have a responsibility for maintaining a code of ethical and responsible behavior both for its officers but also its membership. If a person claims to be a member but hasnt ever maintained membership then isnt it the responsibulity of that organization to halt bad behaviors or fraudulent claims of being an active member? It is an open-ended question but presents a candid discussion as to membership criteria and perhaps separating a cult-like establishment branding. But when personal actions skirt a fine line between organizational and individual requirements, then it becomes a liability to the organization for not pushing back to protect its corporate integrity guidelines and active members. Organizations that fail to address improper or unethical behaviors are accepting the burden of the association not by membership, but by the actions of its members that perhaps sends the wrong message that illegal practices are acceptable – as long as we don’t know about it, or pretend not to acknowledge it. When law enforcement agencies paint a picture that some within registry advocacy borderlines hate speech can support it with documentation, facts, and evidence, then it creates a thin wedge “am I on the right side of advocacy?” It presents a surreal moment that perhaps questions why there are many divisions, factions, groups, posing under differing names but mainly under one or more umbrellas? To be on the right side of advocacy organisations must embrace member standards and conduct. Without such standards organizations cannot produce a standard to be reasonably heard or visible and allows leadership to become tainted by outside influence. I may be a member of the ACLU or other organizations, but I dont overstep my bounds by speaking on their behalf. Instead, I allow credible appointed professionals to do that leg of the work so that the message is consistant and reflects a good image upon the organization. I don’t belong to advocacy to press one-sided issue or to become a part of a cult-like experience. I belong and commit to advocacy so that both sides have equal representation of compromise and the best possible solution for all.

For now, I am allowing local and federal investigators to do their job and determine the next steps which appear to be rapidly moving. Naturally, law enforcement always has my support because of my faith in democracy as a nation of laws where we follow them. My biggest fear and concern is that there will be unintentional victims that are associated with select individuals. However, people choose to follow whomever they wish – but perhaps at a significant cost by association. Additionally, as a retired Army veteran, I support and defend our constitution, which includes free speech. But when that speech is impaired to mask or inflict cowardly harm or discourse, then it is safe to deem such predators as organizational terror cells intent on not standing up for justice, but hiding behind aliases similar to the mentally disturbed or radicalized individuals. If your message is more about the person rather than the cause, then perhaps you are in the wrong advocacy program? Lastly, I am not a John Doe and have mentioned for the sake of advocacy that I do not wish to be an anonymous figure. I do not have alias accounts or screen names – and never have. I do understand the need for privacy for those still living in shame, guilt, or vulnerable circumstances for the protection of self, family, and loved ones. Typically, it is these people that deserve our best foot forward ensuring that we are providing them a credible voice by the restoration of good ethical behaviors by working in their best interests to make their lives better – not worse by micromanaging every word or quote seeking to control their speech or particular advocacy.

Radicalization is a process by which an individual, or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo or contemporary ideas and expressions of the nation.

I believe in our nation and believe that our system, despite its flaws, has the best intentions of being protecting all Americans. I do not perform acts to desecrate our nation’s flag by referring to it as a “rag.” I don’t apply women in derogatory misogynistic methods just because I don’t get my way. I refuse to enlist others to support a one-sided conversation. I have a political compass that is personal and not introduced in my day-to-day professional routines. Lobbying may have its political leanings, but advocacy takes no firm stance on political ideology. Therefore I treat all my professional encounters equally. I am an LGBT member and take a personal stance on ensuring my and the rights of others are not hindered. As a person with ADHD, I am cognitive of mental health and social issues and believe that many registrants with such diagnosis are widely overlooked and not a recognizable introduction of motive or other circumstances. Therefore, I also advocate for ADHD among autism based organizations but only in a supportive, non-professional, role. I converse in a respectful tone even when I disagree, and I certainly don’t abuse a system for my benefit. I am a Christian but recognize others for their beliefs and respect their choices. I wont stoop to lows such as support for methods of cyberbullying or cyberstalking of opponents or allies. Those on the sex registry are not at war with our country. Instead, registrants should choose to become active participants in civic duties by contacting legislators, the press, religious, and other civic causes to have an amplified voice of diplomacy, discourse, and recognition. But to become credible, we must be trustworthy too. The childlike behaviors of fake screen names, fraudulent companies, false banking methods, fake charities, maybe false disability claims, and sometimes phony victimization won’t help causes if we allow select people to ruin the standard of advocacy by setting a higher standard. There have been too many past lawsuits levied to individuals not playing by the simple rule of discourse within the sex offender advocacy mission. Until national and local groups can clean up its act and tackle the stain by specific individuals, advocacy won’t have a viable voice among society because it embraces the wrongs rather than the pursuit of the right. Nobody ever claimed advocacy would be easy. But the art of public policy and support must be met with civility, patience, and respect. I would expect such poor displays of behavior from middle or high schoolers; not professional advocacy organization members? So much for people acting their age?

In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law, a criminal law, or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong.

I will maintain cautious advocacy towards lawful and transparent legislation. The current climate of various political criticisms has polarized our nation, municipalities, and organizational framework. However, I am an individual that may occasionally expect profound discourse from opponents. But at no point would I ever expect personal attacks and the lack of parliamentary professionalism from within advocacy work? Perhaps it is time for advocacy organizations to implement and hold accountable individuals that pose more harm to others than protecting them? Sooner or later the toll that one bad actor brings upon an organization which will eventually leak into to the mainstream media may be a setback for advocacy without the hope of recovery because it is deemed as criminals continuing to support criminal behaviors. Registrants certainly would never allow authorities to abuse the voice, liberty, and rights? Why on earth would registrants be fearful or live in fear from one of their supposed allies? That seems to be the standard dilemma organizations must directly address for the sake of growth, expansion, and a safe-space of getting the message out. It is not a perfect system, but it seems to be filled with imperfections that are stifling others by hate-filled anger laced tactic that must immediately stop before someone gets hurt. It is this instablity local and national advocacy MUST address – and soon. Otherwise, I forecast that national advocacy organizations will be be burned from both ends without a care in the world because it would leave only one person remaining to carry on his/her personal agenda at the cost of so many affected by the registry. As police and other advocates have suggested, it is the perfect “gaslighting” strategy which is especially sad because police do rely upon advocacy groups as support mechanisms within communities. (yes, police can be helpful even if laws they are sworn to uphold are unpopular among registrants)

There are nearly one million individuals listed on sex offender registries. But less than micro percent of registrants belong to or support advocacy groups to meet their needs or concerns. Perhaps one reason is that registrants are uncomfortable at being vulnerable, exposed, publically shamed, cyberbullied, or cyberstalked by others within the organizational framework.

If we are to be advocates of helping to craft sound public policy and rational laws, then it might be helpful if we practice what we preach? Otherwise, recidivism rates will venture towards another arena that will maintain the stigma of predatory behaviors and make restrictions worse for those that DO obey and respect laws, people, and boundaries.

Footnote: I have a very supportive and large family, a robust network of good reliable lifelong friends, a wonderful university department that has been beyond supportive, and a partner of over seven years active that has always been there for me. It is these pillars of support that have introduced and advocated for myself to stamp out cyberbullying and predatory behaviors by others. It is also these support pillars that are the ones that assist in helping about a specific individual that targets, harasses, and uses the internet as a predatory tool rather than a resource for good. But some people cannot be rehabilitated and perhaps the best solution is for them to be placed in lifetime civil commitments for their own protection and for the good of society? It is these pillars of support that will do all means not only to protect myself from harm but others by civilly and criminally charging those that skillfully commit wrongful conduct but play out the victim card. My family and support system are more insightful and eager to handle the bad elements of society using it for personal gain and exploiting others for entertainment purposes. Personally, I appreciate all the offline concerns and support to stamp out this self-proclaimed-self-absorbed “Beetlejuice” government abuser and facilitator of misogynistic hatred under the guise of sex offender advocacy. If you have been cyberstalked, cyberbullied, or fallen prey to the donation scams in the “name of advocacy”, I encourage you to contact your local law enforcement authorities to file a formal complaint or charges. Allow law enforcement to work for you for a change and stop this criminal behavior.

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