CA- Sex offenders challenge laws
For immediate release: Friday, May 16 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A group of convicted sex offenders are mounting legal attacks on laws regulating where they can live. We urge caution here and hope that courts rebuff these challenges.
These laws aren't perfect. But let's keep some perspective. While a relatively small group of grown-ups face some problems because of imperfect laws, a much larger group of children face substantially more horrific damage because of adult criminals.
These laws are relatively new, but for decades we as a society have minimized child sex crimes and made it very hard for victims to expose predators, seek justice, protect others and start healing. The vulnerable and the wounded should be our priority, not those who have caused and may still be causing such horrific pain.
Some estimate that one in three or four girls and one in seven or eight boys are sexually violated. That's where our focus really belongs – on combating this crisis first, before fixating on where convicted criminal may or may not live.
Adults who want to change these laws to help other adults should move slowly. And they should first address a much more devastating injustice: the harm done to hundreds of thousands of boys and girls who are sexually assaulted by child molesters.
If sex offender laws are too vague or broad and need to be made clearer and tighter, that's a discussion that may be worth having. But it should happen only after our society, lawmakers and law enforcement officials figure how to do a much better job of protecting kids.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)