Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Georgia Sex Offender Laws In The Economist

The Economist has an article about U.S. sex offender laws and the lead paragraph tells the infamous story of the teenage girl listed as a registered sex offender for performing oral sex on another teenager.
One day in 1996 the lights went off in a classroom in Georgia so that the students could watch a video. Wendy Whitaker, a 17-year-old pupil at the time, was sitting near the back. The boy next to her suggested that, since it was dark, she could perform oral sex on him without anyone noticing. She obliged. And that single teenage fumble wrecked her life.
One area where I believe we all agree is the true predators should be punished and punished harshly. However, as the Genarlow Wilson case exemplified, our sex offender laws must be carefully crafted. We brand for life far too many people who are just stupid but hardly dangerous.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There should be a distinction of being charged as a sex offender. People who do not know much about sex offenders or the laws, assume the worst when they find out you are or family member is a sex offender. The distinction should be made between a sex offender and sex predator. There is too broad of an area to charge someone as a sex offender when there was no crime but stupidity not knowing the sex offender laws in your state. For example, many 17-18 year olds are charged as a sex offender by having sexual relations with girlfriend/boyfriend that is younger within minor age. The sex offender laws were made with the best intentions but has ruined a lot of lives who might not deserved it.