For immediate release: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, CA, East Bay Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (925-708-6175 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The California Sex Offender Management Board is recommending to the legislature that only high-risk offenders should be required to register for life. Others, characterized as “low risk,” could be removed from the registry 10 to 20 years after the offense. We are deeply concerned about this proposal.
We believe that if there is a problem with the sex offender registry being too confusing or too cumbersome, the appropriate remedy is to re-organize the list using categories like "least dangerous" and "most dangerous." Totally removing identified sex offenders from the registry after a certain amount of time has passed with no new crimes DETECTED, puts children and vulnerable adults at risk. Allowing these criminals to return to obscurity should not be the solution.
The vast majority of sex offenses are never reported. Of those that are reported, an even smaller number result in convictions. Sex offender registries are not perfect. They certainly don’t identify those predators that have never been reported or convicted. But they do give us information that parents and other adults can use to decide for themselves whether or not they want to risk an association with a convicted offender.
Legislators who want to change the registry should move cautiously. The vulnerable and the wounded should be their priority, not those who have caused, and may still be causing, horrific pain and trauma.
(SNAP is the world’s oldest and largest support group for 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, as well as those abused in other situations, such as in scouting or on sports teams. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, email@example.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)