Wright also explores critical, cutting-edge topics, such as internet sexual solicitation, the death penalty, and community responses to sex offense. Thought-provoking and insightful, Sex Offender Laws serves as a vital resource for policy makers, researchers, and students of criminal justice, law, and social work. Key Features: An introduction and overview of the history of sex offender laws Analyzes the role of the media in sex offense and sex offender policies Examines the political "untouchability" of sex offender laws and their adverse effects Features interviews with victims of sexual assault, investigating their points of views on what kinds of reforms need to be made to sex offender laws Thought-provoking and insightful, Sex Offender Laws serves as a vital resource for policy makers, researchers, and students of criminal justice, law, and social work.
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Sex Offender Laws, Second Edition. Thus, many crimes remain undeterred and undetected, and many young lives are permanently scarred as a result. July 27, The text of the bill also provided insight into the motivation behind the legislation.
It included the story of an American-registered sex offender who traveled to Mexico and engaged in illicit sexual activity with a fifteen-year-old girl as an example of the type of behavior the bill seeks to prevent. Although the goal of House Bill was admirable, the legislation has the potential to do more harm than good. Additionally, House Bill explicitly proposed establishing nonpublic sex offender registries in U. In contrast, House Bill did not include any restrictive language, leaving open the possibility that this information could be made available to the general public.
However, even with these changes, House Bill remained imperfect. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations but was never brought to vote. Ultimately, House Bill did not pass before the end of that year. At the end of each two-year congressional session, all proposed bills that have not yet passed are cleared from the books. House Bill was part of an ongoing effort to create an international sex offender registration system. Although the bill did not pass in the previous session of Congress, it is nevertheless appropriate for this Comment to review the language of House Bill to avoid replicating its weaknesses in future versions.
Section 2 explained the congressional findings regarding the negative impacts of the sexual exploitation of minors. It noted the ongoing efforts of U. Section 2 stated that there have been seventy-three convictions of U.
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House Bill made the claim that this is an expensive but necessary process and advocates for a formalized system. Section 2 also stated that sex offenders are trying to enter the United States and therefore encouraged foreign governments to notify the United States, as well as each other, when a sex offender is crossing international borders. It included the April story of a registered sex offender from the United Kingdom who traveled to the United States with the intention of living with a woman he had met on the internet and her young daughters. Customs and Border Protection officers through the U.
It proposed establishing a system in the United States to notify officials of foreign countries when a high-interest registered sex offender intends to travel to their country; strongly encouraging and assisting foreign governments to establish a sex offender travel notification system and to inform U.
Section 3 consisted of relevant definitions. It defined a high-interest registered sex offender as a sex offender that the International Sex Offender Travel Center Id. Sex offense is defined as a criminal offense against a minor that involves any of the following:. An exception was provided for foreign convictions that were obtained without sufficient safeguards for fundamental fairness and due process.
This information included: complete name s ; address of residence and home and cell phone numbers; all email addresses; date of birth; social security number; citizenship; passport number, date and place of issuance, and date of expiration; alien registration number, if applicable; information as to the nature of the sex offense conviction; jurisdiction of conviction; travel itinerary, including the anticipated length of stay at each destination, and purpose of the trip; the date of purchase for plane ticket or other forms of transportation, if already purchased; whether the sex offender is traveling alone or as part of a group; and contact information prior to departure as well as during travel.
This duty to report would have applied until the individual was no longer required to register in any jurisdiction for a sex offense. A criminal penalty would be imposed for failure to register. Section 5 created the requirement that all U. The sex offender would remain on the registry for as long as he or she remains in the country.
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The sex offender would be responsible for keeping the embassy apprised of any changes to the information contained in the registry. The bill required that a traveling sex offender provide the following information to the U. The bill allowed for any and all of this information to be included in the registry maintained by the consular or diplomatic mission. The text explicitly stated that the information on a registry shall not be made available to the general public, but granted access to U. Suspicious parents were not considered eligible entities to request this information.
Section 5 h 2 D provided limitations on what such eligible entities may do with the information once it has been received. Service providers could request information on the registry regarding an individual who is applying for or holds a position that involves contact with children. Section 5 h 2 d also detailed the requirement that a registered sex offender must appear in person at a U.
Sections 6 and 7 described the establishment and guidelines of the International Sex Offender Travel Center. House Bill contained a number of fatal weaknesses that ultimately would have marred the goal of international sex offender legislation. Thus, it is advantageous that the imperfect bill did not become law. Still, comprehensive studies of sex offenders and recidivism rates find that seventy-five percent of sex offenders never reoffend.
Furthermore, many registered sex offenders, like Phillip Alpert, arguably should never be required to register in the first place. Nevertheless, House Bill would have subjected all offenders to an additional form of registration, mandating that registered sex offenders notify the U. The bill proposed that a sex offender notify the state in which he or she is registered of his or her intent to travel abroad.
The state would likewise be required to provide this information to the International Sex Offender Travel Center, created by the President, headed by the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, and consisting of a group of government officials from various departments, The center would include representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice.
House Bill stated that U. This vague definition was the only guidance the bill offered regarding how to determine high-risk offenders. In theory, sex offender laws are designed to protect the public from violent criminals. However, the current laws in many states require people who urinate in public, teenagers who engage in consensual sex, and young children who expose themselves—individuals who have not committed violent offenses—to register as sex offenders.
Upon learning only that Phillip Alpert, a registered sex offender, engaged in the distribution of child pornography, officials at the International Sex Offender Travel Center could conceivably consider him to be a danger to minors all over the world, when that is far from reality. This is not to say that monitoring the international travel of dangerous convicted sex offenders is never acceptable, but rather that without established criteria for determining which offenders are actually high risk, House Bill missed the mark and allowed for an overbroad screening process. A second problem with the bill as drafted is its potential effect on underage offenders.
In the U. Code, aggravated sexual abuse is defined as causing another to engage in a sexual act by the use of force or threat. While this is a seemingly narrow group of juvenile offenders, in reality, the bill would affect a significant number of juveniles. Surveys conducted in the early s reported that adolescent males between the ages of thirteen and eighteen were responsible for twenty-one percent of all forcible rapes committed in the United States. Lane ed. This number has only increased over the years, as juveniles now constitute twenty percent of all offenders charged with a sex crime in North America.
These young offenders will be subjected to unnecessarily and detrimentally stringent travel requirements if legislation like House Bill is passed.
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Additionally, the bill left much room for subjectivity in the determination of what act might be deemed comparable to or more severe than aggravated sexual assault. Applying cookie-cutter registration laws to juveniles does not account for the unique characteristics of their offenses. It is widely accepted that children differ from adults mentally, physically, and emotionally; and thus, the juvenile justice system was created with a focus on rehabilitation.
Confinement , Center , Jan. Although House Bill did not include those offenders who were adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court, it still would have subjected many other juveniles to the same strict requirements as their adult counterparts. Rather, these young offenders are simply acting out, using similarly aged children with whom they can express themselves sexually, and will not ultimately reoffend. While very few studies exist regarding the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws on adult sexual offenders, there is almost no research on the effectiveness of registration and notification for juveniles that commit sex crimes.
Furthermore, laws mandating registration, such as House Bill , function primarily to ensure safety by alerting officials and in the case of community notification laws, the public to the presence of sex offenders in the community. However, a large majority of sex offenders know their victims personally, as seen in cases of child molestation, where the perpetrator and victim are often related.
This phenomenon is even more prevalent when the offender is a juvenile. In ninety percent of sex crimes by juveniles, the victim is known to the offender. Thus, registration in these instances serves only to embarrass and ostracize the family because it adds little new information that the family does not already know about their relative or friend. All of these factors make it manifestly unjust to penalize juvenile sex offenders under a one-size-fits-all rubric.
Criminal law systems across the world vary in such a way that different countries may have different definitions regarding the same offense. Sex offender registries differ from country to country as well. Some countries choose not to implement registries; others, such as Norway, use a national criminal registry that is not specific to sex offenses.
In Thailand, sex is decriminalized, and although rape is considered a criminal offense, the law is rarely enforced. As recently as , other countries, including Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia, have begun to debate introducing a sex offender registry. Complicating matters further, the age of consent ranges among nations from thirteen to eighteen, making it a crime to have sex with a sixteen-year-old in Ireland, where the age of sexual consent is seventeen, but not in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, the age of consent is sixteen.
The extensive variety that exists in foreign laws hinders the desired effect of a law like House Bill A tenet of international law states that an individual residing abroad is bound by the laws of the host state. Bederman , International Law Frameworks 84 3d ed. This gives that country the power and requisite knowledge to impose its own sex offender laws and requirements upon a noncitizen.
The bill explicitly required that an offender provide the name and address of any place where he will be a student and will have regular contact with minors. If London authorities decided to prohibit Alpert from living within a specified number of feet from a school, it would greatly affect his ability to study abroad as a college student.
In Italy, there is no national sex offender registry and therefore nothing requiring an individual who has committed a sex crime to notify the police upon his or her release from prison. Instead, Article of the Italian Criminal Code contains rules against sexual violence and includes sex crimes such as sexual acts with minors and group sexual violence punishable by varying prison terms. As an alternate means of ensuring the safety of children, criminal record checks are performed on teachers who apply for new jobs, and each applicant must provide a sworn affidavit stating that their record is clean.
The Ministry of Public Instruction claims that this system works, explaining that every application since has been checked against police records. However, in , a kindergarten teacher was among those arrested as a result of a police investigation into child pornography on the internet, calling the effectiveness of this practice into question. Prospective teachers may pass the initial screen only to commit undetected sex crimes in the future.
It is difficult to speculate what the government of a country that has not chosen to create a sex offender registry would do with the warning that a U. While an individual like Phillip Alpert does not pose any danger to Italian citizens, child predators like Jack Sporich may be able to live free of suspicion, especially if they do not remain in the country long enough to merit registering with the U.
Sporich spent nine years in a California prison after he molested hundreds of boys on camping trips. He then relocated to Cambodia where he lured three young boys into his home using toys, candy, and money. Although Sporich is exactly the type of person House Bill was designed to target, Italy does not subject its own citizens to any period of registration and likely would not do so for visiting sex offenders. Thus, even if U.
In early , Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, faced the possibility of being tried as a sex offender for engaging in sexual relations with an underage prostitute. While the media focused on the potential fifteen-year sentence that accompanies a conviction, Berlusconi does not have to fear registering as a sex offender if he is found guilty—a lifelong stigma that would attach to his sentence in the United States or Great Britain. In some extreme cases, a U. The offender may be monitored more closely during his or her stay in the country and face primitive and sometimes brutal consequences if he does reoffend.
This is particularly worrisome for people like Phillip Alpert who arguably should not be a registered sex offender at all. In the Czech Republic, male sex offenders are punished with surgical castration, despite staunch resistance from the Council of Europe. Currently, the Czech Republic is the only country in Europe that still uses this procedure as a means of punishment.
Although this bill would not apply to Alpert, it could lead to a disastrous outcome for a U. If the Ugandan bill were to pass and U. Mandatory registration and community notification of a specific class of convicted offenders is unprecedented in the history of U. Yet U. The federal legislation requires states to make relevant information on convicted sex offenders available to the general public.