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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » UK to register people as NOT being sex offenders

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Author Topic: UK to register people as NOT being sex offenders
Mormegil
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news story

So a new law in the UK means people who work with kids have to be vetted and registered as not being dangerous, and pay a 64 pound fine for the privilege.

So if a school invites, say, Quentin Blake, who illustrated all the modern reprints of Roald Dahl's books, to come to an elementary school and talk to the kids, he can't come if he isn't registered.

Because unless we do a background check on him, who knows if he'll be dangerous. He's a adult, and all adults are potential child rapists. Never mind that he'll never be alone with a child anyway. If even one child is saved, it'll all be worth it...

Now I hate child molesters and think the death penalty should apply to them. But this is ridiculous. Many authors have said they'll just stop visiting schools. It teaches kids and adults alike that we should live our lives in fear. The fact is would-be child molesters are thankfully a minority, and we don't need to be looking with suspicion at everyone we see.

I may have passed 10 child molesters at the grocery store last night while with my daughter. Who cares? She was with me the whole time! I'm going to be cautious with her, but not live in fear. The odds are better she'll die in a car wreck on the way to the store, than be molested there or anywhere.

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msquared
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Don't most molesters take advantage of children who are related to them? I mean the other stories make the head lines, but as a proportion, aren't most victims related or in the same "house" as the molester?

msquared

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vulture
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Was listening to an interview with Pullman about it this morning. It seems like stupid overkill to me, but 'child (over)protection' seems to be very much the order of the day in the UK right now.

BBC has another story yesterday morning, about a woman who wanted to work in her church Sunday School, and when the church did the (legally required) check of the child protection register, she was flagged up as having a potential problem, and was denied. Which was the first she'd heard of it. Turns out that she'd once left her 9 year old boys playing in a park play area while she went in to a nearby shop to buy some food. Someone called the police, the policeman talked to her, and based on under 60 seconds talking decided to put her on the register (with apparently no obligation to notify her of this). So now she can't get a job working with children.

While I think we all understand the desire to protect children, the current mindset in this country does seem to be in favour of allowing any leglistaltion that says it 'protects children' no matter the number of absurdities and injustices it might throw up. And it's hard to campaign against, because who is going to stand on a platform of making children less safe. Unfortunately it seems we are doomed to live with it until there are enough protests about the injustices, and enough evidence that these laws do nothing to protect childern, that they are gotten rid of.

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Pyrtolin
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Sounds (without explicitly investigating) similar to the clearneces you need to get in the US to work with kids.

The crazy thing is that the primary risk is from trusted friends and family members. All of these measures do litte to nothing to actually mitigate any real risks.

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TommySama
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I wish richSKY Dey was here to tell us how getting molested builds character
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Athelstan
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I go to my five year old Grandson’s School, in the UK, to read to the children in his class. As a volunteer I have to be checked but there is no fee. The £64 is only for people who wish to make a career out of doing something that involves children. These Authors gain a lot from visiting schools and reading to children, probably their next book.
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hobsen
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Perhaps comments on this should be left to persons from the UK who understand how their system functions. But having worked with the most highly classified United States secrets concerning nuclear weapons, meaning information gathered about the nuclear weapons programs of foreign nations including the names of those spies who provided it, I can say nothing ever required more than that an uncleared person secure a visitor's pass and be escorted by a properly cleared person while he was in classified areas. My guess is that schools in the UK would be allowed to set up a similar program, where persons not on such a registry would be escorted when in the presence of children. Otherwise the schools could not permit a plumber to enter when a water pipe breaks, which would be more than inconvenient for them. In this case I should say the publication quoted is sensationalistic - look at the list of the day's headlines to the side - and probably created this story by calling authors to get their hasty reactions over the phone to the proposed new law. But since I do not live in the UK, I do not really care if officials there damage their schools by enforcing this law in the manner suggested. But I find it hard to believe most persons in authority in the UK are that dumb. With some months to go before the law takes effect, I should assume they would find a solution for such potential problems, but maybe I am too optimistic.

Sorry, Athelstan, I drafted the above before reading your post.

[ July 16, 2009, 01:31 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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cherrypoptart
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Not only do I not think that there is anything wrong with this new program in the U.K., I think it's the least they can do.

As to the problem of children getting molested more by people closest to them that this won't protect against, just because you can't protect everyone doesn't mean you shouldn't protect anyone. You do what you can.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that no one has noticed the truly disturbing thing here. The problem isn't the efforts necessary to protect kids from people dangerous to them like convicted child molestors, the problem is that dangerous, convicted child molestors are even free in the first place to prey on kids again and again and again.

And yes, I already know, this person or that person isn't really that dangerous and they got caught up in the net of sex crimes through Romeo and Juliet problems or whatever, so sure you do what you can to better differentiate those types of people from the real predators, but you don't use as an excuse not to protect kids the best you can with what you've got.

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0Megabyte
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"The problem isn't the efforts necessary to protect kids from people dangerous to them like convicted child molestors, the problem is that dangerous, convicted child molestors are even free in the first place to prey on kids again and again and again. "

True, I'm not fond of having dangerous people like that in the general population.

But what do you propose? Lock all people convicted of child molestation up indefinitely, Guantanamo Bay style? Get rid of civil rights of these people who we all, including myself, don't like, regardless of whether they have served their time or not?

What do you propose as the solution? I'm actually curious, and not being facetious here.

But you do seem as though you're more worried about saving every last children, then worrying about the civil rights of people, especially in the stupidly designed sex offender register. It's not like it isn't easy to get on if you're unlucky, after all...

They wanted to put a girl on there for sending pictures of herself naked on her cellphone, after all! I don't recall if she was convicted.

And in my generation, who hasn't done stuff like that? Well, a lot have, that's who...

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0Megabyte
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I mean, technically, if we were caught, most of my generation would be considered by some of these laws as sex offenders, or so it seems.

Not to say that this makes what real child rapists do any better. But it does dilute the term of sex offender a little bit...

Even if what I said above isn't actually true, it's the way it feels like, anyway. And that dilutes the strength of a term almost as much.

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msquared
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OMeg

I also have the same problem with lumping all sex offenders under the same blanket. I mean if some guy got busted picking up a street walker for 15 minutes of fun, isn't he labled a sex offender for the rest of his life? The guy is no threat to kids but gets punished the same.

msquared

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that no one has noticed the truly disturbing thing here. The problem isn't the efforts necessary to protect kids from people dangerous to them like convicted child molestors, the problem is that dangerous, convicted child molestors are even free in the first place to prey on kids again and again and again.
Is there any law, no matter how intrusive, radical, or hysterical, that is not justified whenever the issue is child molestation? Just curious.

And yes, I'm well aware of the fact that because I don't yet have children I can't possibly know what it feels like to be afraid that a molester is going to grab my kid, I can't possibly express a valid opinion on this issue, and when I do have kids, I'm sure I will become a shrieking ninny too.

But in the interim, I wonder if just maybe this whole thing isn't being blown out of proportion.

And no, I'm not a child molester.

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cherrypoptart
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My proposal would start with elevations in the penalties first off based on the degree of certainty in the conviction.

People get convicted and sentenced based on reasonable doubt.

I'd have a new higher standard that would be guilty beyond a "shadow of a doubt".

One problem sometimes with child molestors is that the evidence against them can be just testimony, maybe even years later. In that case maybe keep the system as it is.

But if we catch a molestor guilty beyond a shadow a doubt, such as with DNA, video, in the act, etc., I certainly don't see that a life sentence with no parole is too harsh.

Personally, I'd go for the death penalty. But I'm sure that's just me. But to make sure they never do it again, a life sentence would be okay too.

And no, I don't think that's too harsh. Probably too lenient, maybe just right. The harsh punishment is the one we've dealt to our children by letting more of them get molested by repeat offenders and making almost all of them prisoners of their parents' fear.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I'd have a new higher standard that would be guilty beyond a "shadow of a doubt".
The reasonable doubt standard is already a ridiculously high standard, based on the premise that it's better to let 1000 guilty men walk than let 1 innocent man go to jail. You think that standard is too easy on prosecutors and want an even higher standard?

Are you proposing to do away with BRD for sex offences and replace it with the BSD standard across the board? Or are you saying that the usual BRD standard would apply, but if you could also prove BSD you would get some kind of bonus penalty, like death or life imprisonment?

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cherrypoptart
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Yeah. That sounds good to me. Same penalty as now with the reasonable doubt standard. Substantially increased penalties for guilt BSD.

I'd also do away with parole.

Instead of time off for good behavior, convicts get time added for bad behavior.

Fact is, we are too lenient with child sex offenders and the proof is in how many extra, bonus children we let them molest even after we convict them the first time.

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