Now can I have my beach card back?

RTM nixes bar on sex offenders at schools, parks and playgrounds. And good for them. This was one of those sounds good, works bad proposals that crop up from time to time and unfortunately, all to often get enacted – who wants to let perverts near our children? But in fact, despite being labelled a “child-protection” measure, the ban was so sweeping that every single person branded a sex offender for life would be barred from visiting the beach,  watching fireworks at Binney Park, attending his own child’s performance at a school play or even showing up for a teacher/parent conference.

You say “so what?” and I don’t blame you. But, while Greenwich does have (or did have, I don’t know if he returned after jail) a child molester included in its ranks of three sex offenders, this is a grossly undefined categorization that includes, depending on which state originally labelled him, a huge number of people who are no threat to children nor, probably, adults. I don’t want a man convicted of violent rape lurking in the bushes at Tods. But what about a guy who, at 18, had what he thought was consensual sex but was convicted of not hearing “no”? Fifteen years on, is he such a threat that he shouldn’t be allowed in town?

This sex offender status is for life, and neither the passage of time nor rehabilitation erases it. If, as we’ve read in the news, am 18 year old has sex with his 16 year old girl friend and is convicted of statutory rape, are we safer if he’s barred from Binney Park forty years later? If Stephen Dent had been prosecuted for using the services of prostitutes, should his punishment include being banned from the Bruce Museum?

If  Sam Romeo and his crowd of supporters want to protect children, they need to come up with a better, narrower plan.

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One response to “Now can I have my beach card back?

  1. Joseph

    Did Sam Romeo and the police’s “intensive research” over the last year and a half reveal anything. For example, didn’t they find that there is NO EVIDENCE that these proximity laws work, more importantly experts are stating that they make children LESS SAFE. Also, why is Fred Camillo also pushing for residency restrictions in Hartford when the 22 states that have enacted them have regretted it ever since and his own constituents from Greenwich overwhelmingly feel that these proximity laws are flawed and will be continually challenged by ex offenders who just want to get on with their law abiding lives (133-49).

    If Romeo and the others really want to protect children, they would listen to the experts and research instead of pandering fear to expedite passing unconstitutional and counterproductive laws. He is fighting an uphill battle when his only “research” is rhetoric from vindictive law enforcement and parents. “…sex offenders haven’t paid their price…” Sgt. Bonney, Greenwich Police.

    Do the research:
    Human Rights Watch. “No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in thUS.” 2007

    Lindsay Wagner. Sex Offender Residency Restrictions: When Common Sense Places Children At Risk. Drexel Law Review.

    Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions. By Richard Wright, Phd. March 2009.