Originally published on March 30, 2015. Text below:
When Josh Gravens was 12, he was locked up for three and a half years for touching his sister's vagina. Upon his release, Gravens was added to the Texas Sex Offender Registry, a publicly searchable database that identifies him as the perpetrator of a sex crime and tracks where he lives. He was ostracized in high school, nearly chased out of college, and as an adult, has found it difficult to find work or lead a normal life.
When he was 19, Galen Baughman was sentenced to six and a half years for having a consensual relationship with a 14-year-old. When his release date came up, the state of Virginia refused to let him go on the grounds that he was a danger to society. So he served an additional three years; under Virginia's civil commitment laws, he might have spent the rest of his life locked up.
Gravens and Baughman were the featured guests at a brunch held on March 22, 2015 at the home ofReason.com Contributor Lenore Skenazy that was aimed at bringing attention to how our criminal justice system tramples on the rights of people charged with sex crimes.
Skenazy decided to host the brunch "not because I'm pro sex offender," she says, "but because there are so many people with this label who pose no threat to children whatsoever, and I wanted the public to start realizing that."
Listen to an mp3 of the entire one-hour-and-25-minute event:
Read Skenazy's article about the event in the New York Daily News.
Read an interview on the topic with Skenazy in Salon.
Learn more about Josh Gravens, who could go back to prison for allegedly failing to register his most recent address with state authorities.
Produced, shot, and edited by Jim Epstein.
6 minutes and 11 seconds.
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This post was updated to correct Galen Baughman's name. He was originally identified as Matthew