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Author Topic: question about sexual offender registry
nitasmile
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Hi- I have a question concerning the sexual offender registry.

ETA: other details deleted but this thread was started to ask a couple questions, including whether or not to make sure the priesthood leader in a ward knows of someone being on such a list, as the person visits another ward at times. The person seems to be a very good and faithful member and well on the road to repentance.

[ February 01, 2012, 11:01 PM: Message edited by: nitasmile ]

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ketchupqueen
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That is a very broad charge that could mean any number of things. Do you know when this occurred? Is it recent, far in the past?

If you don't know anything about what occurred, or when, or against whom, idle speculation isn't going to help.

You could ask the ex and the person in question both why he's on the registry, what conviction or plea led to that, and see whether the two stories match, and go from there. You can search articles of public record to find out whether he has been convicted of assault against a minor or other sexual assault, you can look for articles about his arrest, etc. The least helpful thing you can do to resolve the situation is probably to worry about it without looking into it.

If he has been through the courts, you can be sure his priesthood leaders know about it. If they consider him worthy to take the sacrament and perform priesthood duties, then I would expect they know something that makes them feel he is not a danger to others in the congregation. Of course people are fallible, including his priesthood leaders, so I suppose they COULD be mistaken. If you are concerned about the safety of others in the congregation and you share the same priesthood leadership, you could privately go to the Bishop and express such concerns- but be prepared to hear that it's not your business, but he is not of safety to concern to them, they are aware of the situation and you should ask him directly if you have a question.

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Sweet William
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Tell the bishop of the ward he frequents. If you don't dare tell him to his face, print out the page from the registry, and write "this guy attends your ward, please keep an eye out for any single women he seems to be interested in."

And mail it anonymously to the bishop.

Sex offenders are big fat liars who say they're being persecuted.

Err on the side of protecting children.

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Mormon_Yoda
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Yes on what Sweet William said.

You get on the registry by being found GUILTY of a crime in a court of law.

The Bishop should be made aware.

This is not to judge the character of the man or his repentance process. It is simply a matter of protecting children and alot of legal liability.

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Goody Scrivener
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In Illinois, entry on the registry is mandated after a conviction of a sexual crime, or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity. I would hope that this requirement is standard in all 50 states but I don't assume anything. The registry search page does cite the exact section in the Illinois Compiled Statues that governs the registry.

The Illinois registry does not identify when the conviction took place. It gives identifying information about the offender him- or herself, including pictures and the last known address. It gives basic information about the offense, including the approximate ages of both the offender and the victim(s), and the county in which the conviction was rendered.

I have been told - although I have no absolute proof of this - that someone who had intimate relations with their boyfriend/girlfriend while a teenager could be brought up on charges and if convicted, forced to register. So this person's existence on the registry is not an absolute red flag to indicate that he's trolling for his next victims. I think this is why the IL registry gives information about the conviction.

I agree that the bishop should be made aware of this person's presence and the registry entry. And then stay out of it.

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nitasmile
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quote:
Do you know when this occurred? Is it recent, far in the past?

according to the registry, the conviction was just over a year against a minor.

[ February 01, 2012, 11:03 PM: Message edited by: nitasmile ]

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Sweet William
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quote:
If they consider him worthy to take the sacrament and perform priesthood duties, then I would expect they know something that makes them feel he is not a danger to others in the congregation.
I wouldn't make this assumption, necessarily. Many times, people are allowed to plead to ridiculously reduced charges, and a number of other charges are dropped in exchange for the plea.

Plus there is always that thing that righteous people do: wanting to believe that people are basically good at heart. Wanting to believe in the atonement.

Sometimes, the atonement heals the victim, and the perpetrator is healed by never, ever, coming into close contact with children again.

We just can't get our heads around the fact that some people are liars who need to be kept away from children. Forever.

quote:
I have been told - although I have no absolute proof of this - that someone who had intimate relations with their boyfriend/girlfriend while a teenager could be brought up on charges and if convicted, forced to register.
See? Just like no one in prison is guilty, everyone on the sex offender registry had consensual sex with their girlfriend when they were both 16. They're just so very picked on, the poor darlings.

That's why they Utah registry actually lists the code they were convicted under, and links to the actual statute.

Did I say sex offenders lie? Yeah. Can't say that enough.

[ January 29, 2012, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: Sweet William ]

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nitasmile
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thanks you all for your insights.

[ February 01, 2012, 11:03 PM: Message edited by: nitasmile ]

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slader
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quote:
If they consider him worthy to take the sacrament and perform priesthood duties, then I would expect they know something that makes them feel he is not a danger to others in the congregation.
I'm not sure that is necessarily the case. As I understand it, those who have been involved in child abuse have a note attached to their membership records. That note remains regardless of the status of their repentance so that they are not called to positions of trust with youth or children ever again. For example, the offender may have repented and may be receiving the sacrament with the knowledge of his bishop, but he still won't be called to be a Primary teacher or Scoutmaster.

Bishops and ward clerks can probably expand on or correct my understanding.

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CrowGirl
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This has been discussed in General Conference. It is of benefit for the offender to never be placed in a position where they will be tempted, as well as the safety of the children. And in our world today, it's good for the Church so it keeps litigation to a minimum.

A derail. Be very very careful when you talk to others about an abuser. I erred on the side of caution when a ward member told me that some investigator was a child molester. A name was mentioned, but I did not recognize it. I called the Primary and YW Presidency to let them know. I later found out the "investigator" (we had several at the time) was actually an excommunicated man who had recently moved into our ward, and was trying to return.

I also found out afterwards that the person relaying this information was mentally unbalanced, and had blown it massively out of proportion. His offenses had nothing to do with children, AT ALL. But because of my big mouth, this man was not welcomed with the full fellowship that should have been extended to him. I tried to do what I could to repair the damage, but nobody wanted to take the chance that this time, I was wrong.

So yes, lies were involved. Just not on this brother's part.

A postscript. My husband baptized him about a year and a half after he came into our ward. And he is hoping to marry in the temple soon.

[ January 30, 2012, 04:49 AM: Message edited by: CrowGirl ]

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scruffydog
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Nita, just be very careful around him. He may be genuine, but a lot of sex offenders are very practised at giving the right impression. It is how they manage to get close to a woman with children and get access to their targets.

I would advise that you find out for yourself what the truth is. Was he convicted of a sex crime? If so, treat him with all due respect as a son of Heavenly Father but do not give him any opportunities to harm you or your friends.

I would certainly advise that if you know for a fact that he has been found guilty of a sex crime that you have a private word with your bishop to make sure that those with the necessary authority are aware of the situation. They may already know, but at least you will have covered the possibility that they don't. I'm not sure that a public outing of the man is helpful; I would leave it to the bishop and the stake authorities whose stewardship this is. At least that will leave him some room for demonstrating repentance and changing his life.

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LoudmouthMormon
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You show me someone caught and convicted of sexual crimes, I'll show you someone who has left a big trail of dropped jaws, and surprised statements about what a good guy everyone thought he was.

Part of LM's collection of sad news stories he's read over the years:

* Some random 88 yr old High Priest (invited ward boys into his basement, showed them pr0n, took pictures)

* Some bishop (convicted of molesting a beehive in the library, during church hours)

* Former Stake President of Butte Montana (flew to Idaho to give lingire to a 14 yr old girl, who turned out to be an internet crimes cop)

* George P. Lee, former General Authority and member of the First Quorum of Seventy until 1989


The 2-men teaching policy and windows in classroom doors didn't just show up in a vaccuum.

Yes - print out his record on the registry and hand it to his Bishop (or slip it under his door, or mail it anonimously, or however you choose.) Whenever you think about doing something else, read “Judge Not” and Judging by Elder Oaks, and if you pass his test, go for it.

Yeah, you don't want to automatically believe gossip. But yeah, you don't get on a sex offender list by being innocent.

[ January 30, 2012, 11:22 AM: Message edited by: LoudmouthMormon ]

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beefche
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Nita, if he is on the sex registry for offenses against a minor, then you aren't believing gossip nor are you spreading gossip. I agree with the others to print off that registry and give to all 3 bishops of the wards he is attending/member of. As has been said, you can do so anonymously.
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kazbert
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quote:
You show me someone caught and convicted of sexual crimes, I'll show you someone who has left a big trail of dropped jaws, and surprised statements about what a good guy everyone thought he was.
Ditto. The fiendish thing about pedophiles is that they make friends easily with children. And it was much worse 30-40 years ago. Back then there was a society-wide tendency to see the crime as so heinous that we refused to acknowlege that it could ever happen to someone we knew. I know a gal about my age (50-something) who was molested by a relative. She told her parents and they changed the subject. It just wouldn't compute for them.

Ditto, too, on the thought that even a repented pedophile should not be given an opportunity to fall again. You wouldn't ask a recovering alcoholic to be a bartender, even if he had been dry for 30 years.

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Jim Clay
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LoudMouthMormon,
quote:
But yeah, you don't get on a sex offender list by being innocent.
While the guy is probably guilty and I would assume as much, your statement is false. Innocent people are convicted of crimes all the time.
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Jean Valjean
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I support the church policies on pedophiles, including the permanent notation to membership records, and I am of the opinion that a genuinely repentant former pedophile will accept or even welcome the restriction on working with children.

That said, I'm reluctant to enter a competition to see who can loathe sex offenders the most. While I have not myself ever been a sex offender, I have some appreciation for how difficult it can be to repent once you are stuck with that yellow passport.

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LoudmouthMormon
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You saw such a competition here in this thread? Could you cut and paste some of it? I'm missing where folks are expressing loathing or hatred...
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nitasmile
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Jean Valjean, I don't think people are having a competition to loathe those w/this problem. I think people are just expressing sincere careful caution.

When I read about these (pedophile situations) in the newspaper, it is a disgusting evil thing.

This situation is somehow painful to me as I see the good in this person and as an observer that does not know anything, he seems to be on a path to a sincere repentance. The fact that this person is on that type of list is something I truly don't even want to believe, it is somehow painful to contemplate, as this info goes against what I have seen of the person. I would hope that perhaps his image was planted on the site or that it was placed there erroneously or that he is an inocent victim.

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trooperswife
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quote:
The fact that this person is on that type of list is something I truly don't even want to believe, it is somehow painful to contemplate, as this info goes against what I have seen of the person.
You just described why I hate sitting on ward council. I don't want to know the things that I know about members of our ward. I want to believe that who they are in public is who they are all the time. But...it's not. And sadly, I'm not always who I am in public, either.
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nitasmile
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quote:
And sadly, I'm not always who I am in public, either
absolutely. I know I am mindful of my billions of weaknesses as a human being.
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ketchupqueen
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With the added information (conviction against a minor, while he's an adult, attending a ward in a stake where his records are not) I'd say that the situation becomes more cut-and-dry than it appeared from your first post. Yes, you should make sure the leadership in this ward are aware. Yes, you should probably mention it to any women with children he approaches. You can still be polite and kind to him; he is a member of the church who has apparently repented, but the situation would seem to warrant extreme caution about his interactions with the young women in the ward/stake (and their mothers.)
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mirkwood
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quote:
1) are such charges made solely on what a victim states or must there be other evidence to substantiate? (eta: please know I am all for believing the victim w/o victim having to prove the guilt. I think I am just wondering how easy it is for someone totally innocent to get on such a horrible list).


To get on the sex offender database you have to have been convicted of a sex offense. To be convicted there has to have been supporting evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt. That term means it has to be 90% likely you have committed that crime.

I have no sympathy for sex offenders. If one lived in my neighborhood...which one does...I would print off a copy of thier page on the database and make sure it ended up in everyone in the neighborhoods hands one way or another.


quote:
While the guy is probably guilty and I would assume as much, your statement is false. Innocent people are convicted of crimes all the time.
Not very often. It has happened...and will happen again...but it is rare.


quote:
While I have not myself ever been a sex offender, I have some appreciation for how difficult it can be to repent once you are stuck with that yellow passport.
There are some really evil people in this world. Sex offenders fall in that category. They "earned" and deserve their "yellow passport."

[ January 31, 2012, 06:06 AM: Message edited by: mirkwood ]

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pnr
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But Mirkwood speaks of the ideal. Fact is that non-guilty plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit because they know once accused of something, they are likely to be convicted and they will spend more time in prison. And further, sometimes people who are flat out NOT guilty ARE convicted of crimes they didn't commit.

What I would do is ask the guy. You won't know whether or not he is lying, But you will be able to know his side of things and whether he accepts ownership. (If he is trying to attend a ward that will let him be what he can be, your talk may push him out of your ward too. This issue is one that haunts completely.)

Fact is that these are strange times. If any of you frequent other boards for LDS people, you know that it is not unusual for the FIRST thought about some child upset is that they were abused. I think it is because there is such a high percentage of people nowadays who have been sexually abused in their lifetimes, that they see it definitively, without a lot of proof. (Maybe because if you are a survivor you wished they didn't need a lot of proof, and are determined to stop any harm to the best of their ability.)

My take on telling the leadership is that until or unless you have talked to the guy about this, you should not (unless you are otherwise inspired). If you sit in ward council though, you should propose that all the auxiliaries teach the buddy system (which is supposed to be part of boy scouts already, but often is not taught at all to girls).

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Jim Clay
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mirkwood,
quote:
Not very often. It has happened...and will happen again...but it is rare.
In general sure, and maybe even when it comes to sex crimes and children too, but you don't have to go far to find plenty of evidence that people lose most of their "innocent until proven guilty" mentality when it comes to children and/or sex crimes.
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Mormon_Yoda
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quote:
What I have seen that seems good about this person- the person helps others w/rides, sings in a church choir, volunteered at something during the holidays, shared a good comment in a church class, stated a desire to help others feel comfortable at an event.
I have such a person in my ward. They come across as a faithful member. They participate in class and offer great insights and testimony. But the fact remains they have a weakness and it must be acknowleged for the safety of others.

The individual you are concerned about is attending wards where the leadership is unaware of his status as a sex offender. That is a HUGE RED FLAG. This is deliberate on his part. Wether its innocent in the sense that he wants to be where there is no stigma attached to him or he crusing for victims is besides the point. He is purposefully avoiding those who have stewardship over him. To me, that means he is avoiding the consequences of his actions.

You really want the liability on you? Give it to those it belongs to immediately. Make those Bishops aware ASAP.

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Sweet William
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quote:
But Mirkwood speaks of the ideal. Fact is that non-guilty plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit because they know once accused of something, they are likely to be convicted and they will spend more time in prison.
Not even close.

Anecdotally, of the few sexual offenders I have been aware of, all of them pleaded to a lesser charge than they could have received. Or else they pleaded to one or two charges, so the other 25 instances of the same crime would be dropped.

One guy who lives down the road got a sweetheart deal, back in Idaho, years ago. After reading in the newspaper what he actually did (and receiving more information from a close, truthful, trusted friend who has met and counseled some of his victims) I think his mother must have been the county prosecutor offering his plea deal. Because if he did now what the did then, he'd be locked up for at least 100 years.

But he tells everyone who asks a complete lie about what he did. And they believe him. And I'm "that jerk from the other ward" when I tell them the truth, and show them the newspaper article.

I'm okay with being the jerk (surprise!!).

quote:
My take on telling the leadership is that until or unless you have talked to the guy about this, you should not...
This is attrocious advice. You don't need to talk to the guy about it, unless you want to.

And, for certain, the leadership that doesn't possess his annotated records needs to be quickly made aware of his actions and his attendance in their ward.

[ January 31, 2012, 10:28 AM: Message edited by: Sweet William ]

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LoudmouthMormon
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My anecdote matches SW's anecdotes. Dood admits to molesting an 8 yr old girl across a number of months. Charged with eight counts. Pled guilty to one in a deal that dismissed the rest. Sentenced to 5 years to life. He'll be sprung in September, girl is now 13 yrs old, and has to deal with that fact.

And by the way - this is just over one victim. The other two victims we're personally aware of never got their day in court.

[ January 31, 2012, 11:52 AM: Message edited by: LoudmouthMormon ]

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ldsatty
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I'm confident that most people convicted of child molestation are, in fact, child molesters. But, of course, I feel terrible for anyone wrongfully accused, let alone convicted. Three cases come to mind. McMartin Preschool, Wenatchee Washington and Jordan Minnesota. The Wenatchee case really bothered me because it was like the Salem Witch Trials. In the McMartin case the accused were exonerated because tapes of the social workers talking to the children showed that the children were coerced into accusing the defendants. The Wenatchee investigators knew this so they purposely did not tape the interviews. Most of the accusations came from the stepdaughter of a police detective who drove her around town while she pointed people out.

The Kemp Foundation used to have a bumper sticker that said "Believe the Children." The argument was that children won't like about child molestation. Of course, children can lie about this sort of thing. I remember a teacher that was falsely accused by two students of molesting them. I think they were high school or junior high. When it came out that it wasn't true and that they were doing it for revenge, they were arrested in class and taken away in handcuffs.

The lesson I take away from this is that you never want to be in a position where you could be accused of such a thing. The Church guidelines on men in primary were a pain when I was in charge of staffing primary, but I know they are wise and based on experience.

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Goody Scrivener
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quote:
And then there's the pretty common situation where the 19 year-old guy has consensual sex with his 16 year-old girlfriend. The girl's parents find out, press charges, and the guy is convicted of statutory rape and labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.
This is what I was referring to in my earlier reply.
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scruffydog
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Getting back to the current situation, the ward leadership need to be told. You can leave it there, but you cannot overlook those whose responsibility it is to protect the ward. I wouldn't personally advise announcing it to all and sundry, but please do make sure that the leadership knows. They may already know, but better to be safe than sorry.
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Jim Clay
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For what it's worth, I agree with scruffydog.
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HalfABrain
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A rumor I heard that I'm not sure whether to believe or not...

Guy is working at a construction site, and has to go pee. The toilets aren't working yet, and there is no portapotty, so he goes outside and pees on a tree in the back yard. Neighbor sees him and reports him. Being honest, he says yeah, he peed on the tree. He gets convicted of public exposure or whatever the charge is, and gets on the sexual offender list for life. Now he can't live within half a mile of a school or 2000 feet of a bus stop or whatever the rules are.

Sounds a bit extreme to me, but I wouldn't be surprised either way.

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Sweet William
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quote:
Guy is working at a construction site,...
The guy that lives in my neighborhood actually used that very story.

I don't know if that actually happened to someone else, but this guy was lying big time.

I'd be very careful.

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LoudmouthMormon
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So, most state offender registries give a little information about what the crime actually was.
Utah's registry sure does. Put in some random name and do some clicking.

"AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD/1ST DEGREE FELONY" - this guy is the possible predator you should watch out for and warn people about. 1st degree felonies are things like murder and selling drugs in a school. "Aggravated" means he was in a special position of trust, like a coach or an older brother.

"UNLAWFUL SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH A MINOR/3RD DEGREE FELONY" - This guy did something like have sex with his willing underage girlfriend. 3rd degree felonies are for things like forging checks (under $5k), or posession of marijuana.

Yeah, on this topic, it's especially important to do your homework and know what you're talking about before opening your mouth.

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Jean Valjean
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A nit, but I'd be surprised if possession of marijuana is normally a felony.

Possession with intent to distribute is another matter. Though having lots of it may create a presumption to distribute.

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LoudmouthMormon
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I stand corrected. I poorly transcribed what I was reading in my google search on how Utah defines felonies.

Possession with intent is correct.

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EDGJanitor
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quote:
For example, the offender may have repented and may be receiving the sacrament with the knowledge of his bishop, but he still won't be called to be a Primary teacher or Scoutmaster.
I literally dream of this day. It is one of the absolute heartaches of my life that I have to spend hours trying to get CONVICTED sex offenders away from kids. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to roust out a pedophile who is a known issue. I have heard all these same stories- he had sex with an underage girlfriend, it was accidental indecent exposure ect. I sit there with victim testimonies in my hand and get told this is a good guy who made some lesser mistake and has repented and needs not to be marked for life.

It kills me. How do we protect kids from the offenders we don't know about if we will not be reasonable about the ones we do know about? And every time I walk into this situation, I am viewed as this awful unforgiving hateful woman. I won't let the SO or their apologists use euphemisms. I insist on correct language. Priesthood leaders get shocked and offended at the words I use. But without those words, they cannot understand what that person did. I hate it. So much.

I have spent the last two months trying to get better so that I could go after one more wolf nestled in a flock. His convictions and crimes would make anyone vomit. But he is working with kids again. He is just a nice well meaning guy that made a mistake. And I will have to go and be the monster.

It's beyond bizarre to me.

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EDGJanitor
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quote:
I know I'll probably run afoul of Gracie on this one, but I think we've gone too far with mandatory sentencing in some cases. We've removed the discernment of judges in cases like this and replaced it with laws based on whichever group can be the most vocally outraged.
I actually agree. The push to mandatory sentencing was because so many judges did nothing. But it is an imperfect solution. I would like all the "consensual sex with an underage GF" convictions OFF the SO registry. I want them off because it muddies the waters too much and gives some very nasty predators shelter.

But you are wrong about whatever group can be most vocally outraged and that comment is a real disservice to people who very hard to participate in government like citizens are supposed to.

It doesn't take outrage or emotion, it takes years
all your money and time. You have to testify, provide evidence, debate, convince, and start all over with each legislator. It's hard work and outrage will get you started but in the end it has jack squat to do the actual labor at hand.

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EDGJanitor
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Yep. But there are apparently Bishops who feel that their insight requires different actions.
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Jim Clay
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May God bless you, EDG.
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