For immediate release: Thursday, Jan. 23
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A convicted sex offender, Dennis Sobin of Washington DC, is putting the names and photos of children's advocates and legislators on a website, attacking them for backing sex offender registries.
Our hearts ache for those who are being harassed by Sobin. We are not surprised that Sobin is being sued. We hope Stephanie Gray prevails in her effort to protect herself from a convicted criminal.
Sobin thinks it’s “unfair” that he is listed on the registry. It's obviously unfair what he did to the child he hurt, to say the very least.
There's a reason virtually every state has a sex offender registry. Child sex crimes are particularly heinous and hurtful. They tend to be repeated. They are hard to prevent and detect. And parents have the right to know if someone living nearby was once capable and therefore might still be capable of engaging in immoral and illegal sexual acts with their kids.
This is yet another example of just how shrewd and charismatic predators are —many of them are creative, bright and surprisingly able to twist situations so that their needs are met and so that they are viewed as “victims.”
Every day, with devastating consequences, we are losing the war to keep kids safe from predators. And that has devastating consequences - for victims, their loved ones, and society as a whole.
That's where our collective focus should be – on the physical safety of the millions of defenseless youngsters, not on the emotional preferences of the thousands of adult predators.
One in every four girls and one in every nine boys is sexually violated in this country. Few of the offenders are ever caught, prosecuted, convicted or jailed. That's outrageous. That's where our energies should be focused – stopping the epidemic of sexual violence against kids.
Adults' feelings are important. Children's safety, however, is far more important.
Those who oppose reforms that protect kids - whether sex offender registries, statute of limitations elimination, training and safety programs – should first come up with better alternatives before gutting the positive steps toward prevention that many states have adopted in recent years.
And if convicted sex offenders feel that registry laws are unfair, they should deal with lawmakers, not harass children's advocates. Sobin's doing to adults what child molesters do to kids – intimidating them.
Finally, we commend Sobin for the good work he's done since getting out of prison. We hope he turns his impressive talents away from helping convicted predatory criminals and towards helping vulnerable innocent kids.
Some convicted sex offenders, do of course, suffer injustices. And that's very sad. But far more children suffer far greater harm. That's the much larger and very real and extremely costly crisis that must be addressed first.