Assemblyman Tom Ammiano Questions State's Sex Registration Laws

This is consensual sex
No two sex offenders are the same, which is why Assemblyman Tom Ammiano wants California to consider a tiered system to categorize those who break the state's sex laws.

As he points out, there is a gradation of offenses. It's true that a consensual, sexual relationship between a 21-year-old and a 16-year-old, for instance, is not even in the same league as a person who sexually assaults a 3-year-old. However, in both scenarios, the guilty party is stamped a sex offender for life.

To get to the bottom of this issue, the veteran assemblyman will hold the first hearing Tuesday, where experts will discuss the merits of this "black and white" system.
Specifically, he wants to reconsider registration requirements, so that perhaps less violent sex offenders, or those in consensual relationships, don't have to register as sex offenders for life.

"You are forever a sex offender, regardles of the scope of your offenses," says Quintin Mecke, a spokesman for Ammiano. "But there are differences across the board -- there is a whole range of sex offenders."

The impetus for this discussion was a December report from the California Research Bureau that showed that registration didn't correlate with reduction in recidivism. It also showed that registration and residency requirements doesn't necessarily keep sex offenders away from potential victims. Moreover, the cost of a system with a blanket registration policy creates no clear path for rehabilitation.

California is already grappling with litigation around the state residency requirement. Under Jessica's Law, a registered sex offender is banned from living within 2,000 feet from a park, school, or anywhere else children may gather. But this law has been deemed counterproductive, since it is forcing many sex offenders into homelessness.

It's especially hard for them to find legal housing in a small, dense city like San Francisco -- where about 10 percent of sex offenders are homeless. Locally, the community has been pushing the state to ease up the law and allow -- at the very least -- the city's ailing sex offenders to have housing, even if it is within 2,000 feet of a school.

Sheriff Michael Hennessey told the Examiner in November that there should be some leniency. "There are people who are treatable, and their crime is so distant it might be appropriate for an exception," he said.

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Yellowroselady's statistics and commentary are very thorough and accurate. All I would add is, that of the 7% of sexual assault on children committed by strangers, no more than 1% is committed by registered sex offenders. The other 6% is committed by never-caught predators and opportunists. We spend, for all practical purposes, 100% of our resources allotted to this area registering, monitoring, and controlling a group of people who commit less than 1% of the sexual molestation of our nation's children.


I am part of a national organization, Reform Sex Offender Laws, and we are trying to educate the public and legislators about the impact of some of the laws and the hysteria created around "all" sex offenders. We also have a state affiliate in almost every state. There are almost 800,000 men, women and children on the registry. The offenses range from urinating in public, streaking, prostitution, molestation, sexting, possession of child pornography, false accusations by an ex-wife or girlfriend, rape, Romeo & Juliet consensual sex dating relationships and then the high profile cases we hear about in the media. Keep in mind in many cases persons accused of a sexual offense are "assumed guilty" until proven innocent. The problem with the last part of that statement is when the accused's private attorney or appointed public defender advises they are facing 15 to 30 years behind bars if they go to court and lose and they weigh a plea agreement of 4 years against the maximum they are terrified and take the plea. There are many....many on the registry that are absolutely innocent but took a plea, for something they didn't do, because of what they faced. Research shows that almost half (49%) of youth under age six and 42% of children ages 6 to 11 were sexually assaulted by a family member. (Justice Policy Institute, Pg 15) A study reviewing sex crimes as reported to police revealed that: 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abusers 34.2% were family members 58.7 % were acquaintances Only 7% of the perpetrators of child victims were strangers 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victim's own home 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative (Lynn University, Pg 6) States can expect to incur significant costs as they attempt to implement SORNA, which is Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Act. For example: If the state of Virginia chose to implement the costs would be over $12,000,000 and the yearly Byrne Fund money they lose if they DON'T implement is $400,000.....what would you decide in these economic times? (Justice Policy Institute) You can also Google SORNA and look at each state. There should be 3 classes of offenses: non-contact, non-violent and violent.


There should be guidelines to get off the registry like:1) No parole/probation violations2) Can't be a repeat offender3) No kidnapping convictions4) No other convictions of ANY kind before or after sex conviction5) Complete a therapy programThose that wish to be productive citizens should have a chance. If you don't want to change and be an idiot you get to stay on.


Follow-up from above post:

When you're convicted:1) Misdemeanor - on registry for length of parole or probation2) Felony -on registry for length of parole or probation plus 5 years then reviewed.

Let's face it the registry isn't completely going to go away but it MUST be tweaked. A lifetime for someone not dangerous is a WASTE of tax payer money and it takes away resources to follow the truly dangerous.


Thank you, Tom Ammiano, for playing the honest person who finally tells the truth about the Emperor wearing no clothes! "Sex offenders" are political catnip, and myths and hysteria are foisted on the uninformed public by the media seeking ratings. Every legislator should read the relevant research, and there is plenty of it, prior to crafting legislation that marginalizes an entire class of people as one, even though the crimes themselves vary from consensual mistakes in judgement by young adults and teenagers to rape and pedophilia. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted on ineffective registries and restrictions, and young twenty-somethings are prevented from ever reintegrating into society. No one benefits, least of all children. Monitor the violent and repeat offenders, and let the others move on with their lives after they have paid their debt to society.

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