Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Absolutely no one will argue that many sex offenses are heinous crimes that definitely should be punished harshly. While it may be hard to see in light of the seriousness of the crime, there are instances when a person is falsely accused—and convicted—of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life. There are other times when someone makes a really stupid mistake—one they should be punished for, of course, but perhaps not the same punishment as the person who rapes a child or other more serious sex crimes.
For instance, there are cases of men who drank a bit too much and ended up groping a 14, 15 or 16 year old girl, then spent the remainder of their life as a branded sex offender, unable to get a job or live any kind of normal life. Should they be punished for something that is, of course, damaging to a young girl? Of course! However, should their punishment be exactly the same as that of a man who committed a crime that was many times more horrible?
No Fresh Start for Convicted Sex Offenders
These men are not allowed a fresh start when their jail sentence is up. Their photographs and the details of where they live are plastered across the Internet for anyone to look up and to see. These men wonder, every time they see two co-workers talking at work—if they are, in fact, talking about the monster who works side by side with them. The passage of Megan’s Law came in response to Megan Kanka, a 7-year old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a twice-convicted child molester who moved across the street from the family without their knowledge.
A Matter of Degree
It is absolutely understandable that families with children would want to know when these convicted pedophiles move into their neighborhood. But certainly there are lesser degrees of sex offenses? For instance, suppose a 21-year old young man is dating a fifteen-year old girl with the full knowledge of the girl’s parents. Perhaps one night after both had consumed a bit too much alcohol things went a little too far—no rape involved, simply two kids full of hormones. The next day, however, fully aware that her parents would come unglued if they found out their daughter was having sex, the girl blurts out the word “rape.” Things progress quickly from there as the girl doesn’t know how to take back the untrue words she uttered in fear and desperation.
Soon, the boyfriend—who certainly should have had better judgment—is serving time in prison then required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Effectively, his life is ruined. He will be unable to obtain a student loan and go to college, unable to pursue the career he has always dreamed of, unable to marry and have a family without constantly worrying that someone in his neighborhood will look up “registered sex offenders” in their neighborhood and there his photograph and his address will be for all the world to see. Can this really be considered justice? The people who look up this young man will not be told that he made a stupid mistake at the age of 21 which altered his life forever, only that he is a sex offender. And as we are all aware, what people can imagine is almost always worse than reality.
Don’t Wait to Get Help
As you can see, if you have been accused of any kind of sex crime, no matter how minor it may seem, you must take the charges seriously. It is imperative that you find a criminal defense attorney who has defended those accused of sex crimes for a significant period of time—successfully. You want an attorney who is solidly in your corner and understands that there are degrees of sex offenses just as there are degrees of murder and virtually every other crime. Your criminal defense attorney will be a strong advocate with a goal of ensuring your life is not forever ruined. Don’t wait, hoping the charges will go away—call an experienced attorney.