Monrovia joins other LA Metro cities in banning sex offenders.

At first sight when I read the headline in this mornings Pasadena Star News my parent hat was on and thought bravo keep the child sex offenders at bay.  Then I got to thinking, do we have a civil liberty issue at hand?  What’s to stop them from crossing the city limit anyway?

Monrovia joined the ranks of several other cities in the area that place significant restrictions on where a registered sex offender, on parole or not, can reside or even congregate within the city limits.  Only 2% of the city residential housing stock is now available to these folks.  2%.

The law enacted is based on the Prop 83 Jessica’s Law that was passed a few years ago.  LA County was the first to enact similar restrictions that apply to the unincorporated areas of the county.  Challenges to similar restrictions have stood the test of law.

Here’s where my libertarian streak rears its head.  If the laws say these guys served their time for the crime and are free to go why are they being restricted so much more differently than other criminals once released?  I mean a petty thief released can go free to live and congregate once his time and parole is served yet these folks are treated differently.  I understand the chances of recidivism is high among the offenders, but the code as passed doesn’t allow for shades of gray.

I’m not advocating those sex offenders for violent crime or involving children get a break.  But what about the non-violent ones.  As an example, a guy at a party misreads a girls intentions and plants a kiss on her only to get slapped, then a police report charging him with sexual battery lands him on the offender list?  Or the couple that have consensual sex only to find out one of the partners lied their age and it becomes a sex with a minor charge landing them on the list?  Shades of gray.

Aside from the liberties issue of residing where you wish after you’ve served your time there is another concern.  Isn’t this classic NIMBY and just shoving the problem to another city to deal with?  The article points out that an opinion is held that it is the states duty to relocate them when released from prison,  really?

What say you?

6 thoughts on “Monrovia joins other LA Metro cities in banning sex offenders.”

  1. I think laws like these should not exist. Yes, it’s one thing if you want to prevent a serial child-rapist from living right next to an elementary school. But the fact is that the category of “sex offender” is so large these days that you are infringing on the rights of completely non-dangerous (or at least non-sexually-dangerous) people. You mention statutory rape and the “miscommunication led to sexual assault”, but did you know that you could be labeled a sex offender (legally and permanently) for peeing outside? It’s “indecent exposure”, and now you have to tell all your neighbors and your boss that you’re a sex offender.

    When it comes down to it, we create these laws because we don’t want our children getting molested, but it is a fact that children are much much more likely to get molested by someone they know and someone their parents probably trust. These laws don’t actually make our children safer; they are merely another form of “security theatre” to lessen our fear.

  2. These laws are dreadful and, like most laws, implemented with bias against minority groups. Think about it: A cop finds two teenagers making out in a park? He sends them home. He finds two adult men making out in a park? Now they are sex offenders for life.

    These laws won’t change because nobody wants to seem to be the advocate for sex offenders. But they protect nobody.

    I’d love to see a public registry of the REAL dangers in our neighborhoods, like: People with DUIs, or guns in their homes, or even people with SUVs. They are more likely to harm innocent children in your neighborhood than most sex offenders.

  3. In the vast numbers of people labeled as sex offender perhaps no more than 5% are actually obsessive-compulsive offenders with a psychotic mental disorder. These are the people who cannot help themselves. The rest, the majority of which you and most citizens will never hear of again because their offense was incest and that for most will never happen again.

    For decades people who were once convicted of a listed sex offense have been living and working amongst the so called good citizens doing no harm. It is actually factual that recidivism amongst once convicted persons who committed a listed sex offense is very low in the range of 4% (Department of Justice Study). This high recidivism rate has never been true. It has been a political tool by what we all know as grandstanding politicians always seeking re-election, and so called child protection groups who support overly broad sex offender laws, although there are some groups who are against these broad laws.

    Now, recidivism is high in that group of sex offenders who have that obsessive-compulsive behavior, some that are diagnosed as having a psychosis. What do politicians and the greatly misinformed public do, they all focus on those who are absolutely of no harm to them, while persons from that other group get out of prison and rape, molest, and murder. You have seen those headlines, and you know it’s true.

    Instead of getting angry many of you need to help bring reason and sanity to sex offender laws and help restore Due Process in the Laws, and the elimination of Ex Post Facto and Double Jeopardy laws. When congress and the courts violate those constitutional rights and protections they set president and setup a mechanism by which those same rights and protections are endangered for all citizens.

  4. The Ethicist column from NYT Magazine just fielded a question related to sex offenders yesterday and mentions the following:

    … data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that the recidivism rate for sex offenders, contrary to widespread misconceptions, is far lower than for many other criminals. Nor need you fear that having committed one sort of crime, he is apt to commit another. The bureau reports, “Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense.”

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