Criminal Justice

Man Imprisoned for 16 Years for Raping Lovely Bones Author Is Exonerated

Anthony Broadwater, now 61, had no idea his accuser achieved fame and fortune while he has been living as a pariah for over 20 years on the sex offender registry.

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Alice Sebold's bestselling 1999 memoir Lucky tells the story of a young woman raped by a stranger while attending Syracuse University. In the book, the rapist is caught and convicted. After writing about the experience, Sebold went on to write the bestseller The Lovely Bones, a fictional account of a teenage girl raped and killed. But last week Anthony Broadwater, the man who served 16 years in prison for raping Sebold, was exonerated.

Timothy Mucciante, a producer working on a film adaptation of Lucky, was fired after raising questions about inconsistencies in Sebold's story. Mucciante, who has a legal background, started reviewing the police files; he became even more troubled by discrepancies between the memoir and the facts of the case, to the point where he "couldn't sleep." Mucciante ended up hiring a private investigator to investigate further, and the P.I. broke the case. Broadwater's conviction turns out to have rested on shaky evidence: Sebold had had trouble identifying her assailant—she had initially picked a different man out of a lineup—and the only forensic evidence was a form of hair analysis that the government now considers junk science. Even at the time, the expert witness could only say that the attacker's hair was "consistent" with Broadwater's, not that it definitively was his hair.

Broadwater was placed on the New York Sex Offender Registry after his 1999 release, and he remained on it until a few days ago. His case starkly highlights the needless cruelty of sex offense registries.

Broadwater married after prison, but he never had children; he recently told the Syracuse Post-Standard that this was because he didn't want them growing up with a father with a rape conviction. Meanwhile, the newspaper notes, he was "turned away from countless jobs and educational opportunities over the years for one simple fact: he's a convicted rapist on the sex offender registry." This story is familiar to the nearly one million Americans on such registries, who are well-aware that the stigma extends beyond them to their families and all those close to them. Every registrant's photo, address, and crime are publicly posted, creating inescapable infamy and extremely limited job opportunities.

So Broadwater essentially served two sentences: one in prison, and one on the registry after his release. In New York, where Broadwater was convicted and still resides, a pending Clean Slate bill would automatically expunge criminal records after three years for misdemeanors and seven for felonies, to help those with prior convictions pass background checks to access more housing and employment opportunities. Yet it excludes sex offenses, a fact the literature promoting the bill prominently highlights.

But even the guilty don't deserve this treatment. The consequences of these registries, detailed painfully by Broadwater and so many others, all kick in after those convicted have completed their sentences. The registries also include people convicted as minors, people convicted of statutory and noncontact offenses, and people with developmental disabilities, mental health struggles, or substance use disorders.

In his Syracuse.com interview, Broadwater said that he tried to take vocational classes after his release but was kicked off campus when administrators learned he was on the registry. Broadwater happened to be innocent, but even if he wasn't, shouldn't continuing education be available to those seeking stability and employment after being incarcerated?

Inside Higher Ed recently reported that increasing interest in racial justice has led to colleges "ramping up efforts to serve students currently or formerly in prison." There is bipartisan agreement that this is a smart and ethical investment. I founded and co-direct such a program at St. Francis College. But these efforts, like New York's Clean Slate bill, often exclude people on registries. And even when states or individual institutions do not query potential participants about their criminal histories, federal law requires that those on registries (unlike those convicted of nonsexual offenses) give notice to the state about their enrollment, often prompting a predictable administrative backlash.

One reason for sex offense "carve-outs" is due to myths about recidivism and who winds up on registries. Contrary to popular belief, those with sex offense convictions actually have lower recidivism rates than those convicted of most other offenses (a belief unfortunately fortified by the Supreme Court, which once mistakenly declared the sex offense recidivism rate "frightening and high"). It's worth noting that about a third of the nearly 3,000 documented exonerations since 1989 involve sex crimes, even though only about 13 percent of people in prison are there for a sexual offense.

But data are no match for fear and emotion. These are reinforced by a cultural fixation on statistically rare but terrifying cases of stranger danger (even though the vast majority of sexual violence against both children and adults involves nonstrangers). And this, in turn, is reinforced by books like Sebold's.

Reports have surfaced that Broadwater has been living in "windowless squalor," unaware of his key role in Sebold's memoir or the windfall and fame it brought to her. In The New York Times, Broadwater recalled "the years of stigma and isolation" he faced as a registrant. This post-prison treatment is not a recipe for safety or success. In fact, studies have shown that sex offense registries have not made America's children any safer. The data also show a consistent, decadeslong decline in child sex offenses that started prior to the implementation of registries.

It is time for things to change.

Colleges should continue to lead criminal justice reform efforts, but with new offense-blind admissions welcoming all who want to learn. And our country should no longer brand anyone who has served their time as unworthy of forgiveness or a second chance.

NEXT: Incoming New York Mayor Makes Vague Case for the 'Proper' Kind of Stop-and-Frisk

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  1. "So, Ms. Sebold, how do you feel about having destroyed 2/3rds of an innocent man's life?"

    1. And is she going to share the million $ she made from it?

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        1. To the "Well-Informed-Father-Of-Two"... Her apology is far from "awfully sorry." In fact, the Sex Offender Treatment Programs in state and federal prisons around our nation have denied parole and added years of extra time to individual's prison sentences for coming across as much more sincere than Miss Sebold did. Furthermore, Mr. Broadwater was denied parole 5 times during his 16 year sentence for refusing to admit to rape. If the tables were turned, Miss Sebold would be denied release for refusing to own up and take personal responsibility, and her apology would be seen as "shifting the blame."

    2. I doubt she's particularly happy about it. She now has to live with the fact that not only did an innocent man get his life destroyed, but that her actual rapist was never convicted for the crime.

      I don't know much about this case and I haven't read the book, but I'm willing to absolve her of the bulk of the blame here. I doubt she lied or failed to provide the police with whatever they asked of her to the best of her ability. The fault most likely lies with the people whose job it is to discover the objective truth beyond a reasonable doubt. And maybe the defendant's lawyer sucked or the conviction relied too heavily on evidence that we now consider junk science. Maybe it was a perfect storm of factors that need to be examined so that this kind of conviction can be prevented in the future. But it's probably misguided to assume the author did something objectively immoral that lead to the conviction.

      1. Thank you. It sounds like this was a terrible case, beginning with the lineup and continuing through trial and conviction.

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      2. I don't know much about this case and I haven't read the book, but I'm willing to absolve her of the bulk of the blame here.

        You know, you are exactly the same as the people who jumped to conclusions about his guilt and who are now jumping to conclusions about whether she did this deliberately.

        You know nothing of the case or the situation but 'you'll go ahead and post' an opinion informed by nothing.

        1. Dude, is this your first day on the internet?

          1. Does it have to be someone’s “first day on the internet” to call people out for jumping to conclusions? Is this your first day of LIFE? Because people have jumped to conclusions LONG BEFORE the internet and it’s always been fun calling them out when they’ve been WRONG most of the time.

        2. You're right. I don't have enough information to have an informed opinion about her. I could be convinced that she's a monster who set him up on purpose, or maybe just a sociopath who didn't care one way or the other if he was the actual rapist so long as someone suffered like she did. If it turns out there is evidence that that would lead any reasonable person to believe she is anything from merely apathetic about his suffering to downright gleeful about it, I have no preconceived notions that would cloud my judgment to the point where I refused to acknowledge her moral failings, to whatever degree the facts indicate.

          I suppose my default intuitive response comes from my assumption that true sociopaths are pretty rare. The motivation to do harm to an innocent person, or even a lack of empathy upon finding out that you unintentionally sent an innocent person to jail, seems like a less than common personality type. I realize these kinds of people exist, but the likelihood that one of those outliers happens to be the rape victim in this particular story didn't strike me as being all that high.

          Perhaps my default assumptions are at the very least naive, or at worst I have an embarrassingly wrong intuition about the ratio of socio-paths to non-sociopaths in the general population, and that it's a statistical mistake to assume that any random person isn't at least as likely to be a sociopath as not. I usually require some kind of evidence in that direction for it to even occur to me that a person might actually be a soulless monster.

          I really hope my that my obviously warped tendency to not assume the very worst of people without compelling evidence is not a clear indication that I'm exactly the type of person who would jump to conclusions about a defendant's guilt without compelling evidence. Intuitively I'd think it was an indication that I was the opposite of that kind of person. But then again, you've just taught me that my intuitions are way out of line with reality.

          In fact, I now realize that I'm just as likely to be a sociopath as not. But then again, so are you. I like this new world view you've given me. Seems healthy.

          1. Look, there is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know," but you sure take a whole lotta space to do it.

            1. It’s called partaking in CONVERSATION. Simple minds who can’t bear more then 2 sentences won’t understand.

      3. I don't know much about this case and I haven't read the book, but I'm willing to absolve her of the bulk of the blame here. I doubt she lied or failed to provide the police with whatever they asked of her to the best of her ability.

        She failed to pick the guy out of a police lineup, but then identified him confidently in court. Either she is lying or she has been deceiving herself; neither of that is excusable.

        But it's probably misguided to assume the author did something objectively immoral that lead to the conviction.

        She was negligent and careless, and she should pay a steep price for that, just as if she had been negligent and careless with a gun.

        1. Well said.

        2. Serving the same prison term he did after surrendering all financial gains from her books to Broadwater seems to be a punishment that fits the crime.

    3. She and her publisher have remained silent. This situation pisses me off. One assumes that police and prosecutors are objective to evaluate the evidence they have before charging and prosecuting. I doubt we will hear if any of these folks, including her, ever raised red flags about Broadwater being guilty.

      1. This situation pisses me off. One assumes that police and prosecutors are objective to evaluate the evidence they have before charging and prosecuting.

        One assumes this despite the massive amount of evidence over the years that shows nothing of the sort?

        1. We read regular stories like this on Reason. But you know who lives in prisons? Mostly guilty people.

          1. "But you know who lives in prisons? Mostly guilty people."

            You concede there are still innovent people in prison, as you said "most" but no "all." So you're fine with letting the innoent suffer?

          2. I’m not ok with even a small number of innocent people convicted due to the incompetence of our criminal justice system. Even among the guilty we have far too many serving time for minor offenses or non-violent drug use. Criminal justice reform is sorely needed.

            1. I’m unhappy with innocent people convicted by incompetence. I’m enraged about innocent people convicted because the police lied, the prosecution hid evidence, and the like. Such government actors need to be put at risk of having to serve the same sentence they railroaded an innocent into. Further, a prosecutor who broke the rules deliberately (for which there should be a trial) should be disbarred for life and blacklisted from ever holding any government office, elected or appointed.

    4. Always believe the accuser, vile feminist lawyers, right?

      1. Sex offender registries. More worthless, rent seeking, government make work from the garbage minds of the lawyer filth enemy of this country.

  2. It seems like you're working hard to use an attention grabbing story of injustice as a way of getting out your obviously passionate, and no doubt persuasive, point of view about a policy you don't like. While the initial story might lend itself to the argument that there are flaws in the legal system - be it overzealous prosecution, shoddy investigations, or the wrong threshold of evidence needed for a conviction - that sometimes leads to innocent people being convicted, it tells us little to nothing about the best possible system of punishment for the guilty.

    But that doesn't mean that the subject you actually want to discuss isn't worth discussing, and even if you are using a provocative story that neither supports nor detracts from your position on the sex registry in order to draw more attention to that subject, it's probably worth the mental gymnastics to get there.

    My knee jerk intuitive reaction to your position on the sex registry as it currently functions is that you're probably right. It probably does more net harm than good. But as a general principle, I don't think there's a moral problem - in theory - of continuing a sentence in some form beyond the prison walls. Saying someone "already did his time" isn't a persuasive moral argument in itself. We shouldn't necessarily eliminate parole, and instead tack on those years to prison time in order to facilitate that principle.

    I don't doubt that the sex registry, as it currently works, subjects too broad a range of offenders to a kind of life sentence, but that doesn't necessarily convince me that a life sentence, even one more lenient than having it all served inside a prison, is objectively wrong when it comes to certain categories of rape.

    But if it turns out that the sex registry is almost entirely punitive, and doesn't actually protect anyone from being victimized by the offender, then it's definitely not serving the objective its proponents use to defend the practice.

    Anyway, it's not a subject I've given much thought to before, but like most government policies that are almost certainly not working as advertised, it's no doubt worth scrutiny.

    1. "it's not a subject I've given much thought to before"

      Obviously.

      1. So where am I going wrong with my assumptions? Is the sex registry just fine as is, both morally and practically?

        1. No, it's completely wrong, morally, practically, and Constitutionally, yet you are waffling as if it were somehow defensible.

          1. You're most likely right about the issue. But you're confusing waffling with trying to consider the arguments that are perhaps unwisely presented as absolute principles. If these arguments don't hold up to my scrutiny they certainly won't persuade anyone who is predisposed to keeping the sex registry as is unless persuaded by effective arguments.

            Is it wrong in principle for any sentence to consist of anything other than prison time? If you should have all rights restored "once you do your time" I don't see why it's self evident that your "time" has to all be behind walls. Is a 30 year sentence in prison with the rest of your life spent out of prison but with severe restrictions on your freedom less moral than a life sentence in prison? If so, by all means make the case. Since I'm waffling, convincing me should be a piece of cake if the moral principle is sound.

            But if we agree that, at least in theory, any part of a sentence spent outside of prison, even with severe restrictions on the convict's freedom, is not objectively less moral than forcing the convict to spending those same years in prison, then is no moral principle preventing us from instituting such a policy.

            And since being on a sex registry for a certain amount of time, as bad as that is, is objectively less restrictive, and I'm sure more preferable to the convict, than spending that same amount of time behind bars.

            But as it currently works being on the sex registry is a life sentence. Does that fact in and of itself defy an absolute moral principle? Only if we also concede that putting someone in a cage for life defies some objective moral principle.

            I'm absolutely open to be being persuaded to the contrary, but I see no moral principle that the concept of a sex registry defies that the more restrictive prison sentence wouldn't also defy.

            So if I'm right that the moral absolute angle isn't all that convincing, perhaps it should be discarded, or at least not counted on to be effective, if the actual goal is to persuade the people who need to be convinced that abandoning, or at the very least vastly reforming, the practice is something that needs to be done.

            I'm sure there are enough flaws with the practical implementation of the policy to persuade many people who currently assume it's a swell idea.

            The fact that it's currently a life sentence for crimes that don't warrant a life sentence seems like a winning argument. If crime statistics show that it doesn't actually achieve the results it was advertised to achieve, that seems like a great potential winner of hearts and minds. But I'm sure you know the merits of the practical arguments better than I do. And no doubt you could potentially persuade people with those thoughtful and help the cause you so obviously believe in.

            Or you could just make condescending statements to anyone who might not have given the issue much thought before, but is obviously interested in discussing the merits of the actual arguments now. I assume that was the general goal of the author; to promote the discussion amongst people who wouldn't otherwise give it much thought.

            If you actually want to have the discussion, even if it's just on the off chance that I'll repeat one of your well thought out and super persuasive arguments to someone else, who will then likely pass on those pearls to others, and perhaps when this awful policy is reformed or abolished completely by popular demand you can think back and wonder if your contributions here might have some part in lighting that spark that lit a flaming torch of justice.

            Or maybe you can make the world a better place through mildly insulting substance free declarations, and through those substance free statements you can teach people on the internet how dumb they are for not already being onboard with all your persuasive arguments before you make them.

            Hard to say which approach will be better for humanity overall. But like in all things, and all political positions, it's a forgone conclusion that you know best.

            1. There's a real problem with this. The definition of offenses that a person can be put on the registry can be changed on a whim. I have no problem with someone being put on a registry AS PART OF THEIR SENTENCE. I do have a problem with someone being put on it after being sentenced.
              I'll give an example. Several years ago there were rumors of gay men meeting for sex in the restrooms at a State Park. People caused an uproar about it and of course the politicians (DA) had to get involved. So the Park closed the restrooms. Then the rumor changed to gay men meeting on the hiking trails for sex. The State Police got involved and started stakeouts on the trails. They never caught any gay men, but to justify their time and effort they wrote a bunch of citations for indecent exposure. The indecent exposure being men who were hiking or fishing relieving themselves in the woods BECAUSE THE RESTROOMS WERE CLOSED. A few years later the local registry had used up it's initial grant money and was looking for more. The Local registry was very small and probably wasn't even necessary. So the DA decided to expand the registry. That added a few names, but, not enough. Then they got the bright idea of adding the indecent exposure citations from the State Park. They sold that one by saying that since it was a park, children could have been present. So all of these men who had paid their citations got a registered letter telling them that they were now on the registry. The DA got his grant money and it too several years to have these people removed from the registry.
              Personally I don't believe in the registries, mainly for the reasons given in this article, but, if you are going to have them, make being on them part of the sentence, don't just start throwing names on there. Also put in a set procedure, outside of the office that runs the registry, to clear up things like misidentification and clerical errors.

              1. Very well-thought out. To this, I should add that perhaps Gay men wouldn't be seeking out sex in such places as public restrooms and parks if they weren't made criminals for having consenting adult sex in places like their own homes or brothels or welcoming RV parks, hotels, and motels.

                1. Soooo… do you remember the old “Happy Days” era of ‘inspiration point’? It’s always been a thing to be adventurous and find somewhat public places to have sex. Especially among youngsters and the 20somethings. I’ve done it several times back in the early 90’s with girlfriends. Some of them were the initiators of WHERE to go. Usually dark parks at night. This was NOT the reason for the creation of the Sex Offense Registry. Such acts had NOTHING to do with it. Cops caught us many times and simply said; “Get dressed and get out of here.” Today, we’d both be on a registry and referred to as “threats to public safety”. And you’re ok with this? Imagine all the teenagers who are now adults having to register on the public registry for sending naked pics to each other through text messages. Oh the HORROR!!! Tell us all what these two examples have to do with the Megan Kanka issue that brought about the registry. We’ll wait.

        2. You haven't given it much thought - but you post a half a page of opinion on it.

    2. *I don't think there's a moral problem - in theory - of continuing a sentence in some form beyond the prison walls.*

      It is exactly and only a moral problem, and not any other kind of problem. We (myself and most others) believe that punishment must be limited in both severity *and duration* because doing otherwise is immoral. Both the severity and duration must be appropriate to the crime and the context. Both the severity and duration *must* be decided in a system with due process. The sex offender registry is a system of punishment outside the courts and without due process.

      1. Okay, maybe it's just a matter of wording. What you're describing is what I would consider a moral problem with the practical implementation of a policy.

        I don't think we generally consider putting someone in a cage for committing a crime a violation of an absolute moral principle, but we'd certainly consider it immoral to put someone in prison for life for any and all infractions of the law.

        The way the sex offender registry operates is definitely bad for all the specific reasons you point out, and I'm sure many more. But I don't see why, in principle, a sentence that involves a severe restriction of liberties outside the prison walls is, in and of itself, objectively less moral than a more liberty restrictive sentence inside of prison.

        Maybe it's just pointless philosophical quibbling on my part. The only reason the distinctions might matter is it might affect the best strategy in trying to persuade people who might be pretty okay with the punitive aspects of it, and figure these degenerates are lucky to be breathing free air at all, regardless of how many restrictions you put on them. If your argument is that the sex registry itself defies an absolute moral principle that prison somehow does not, then the response could easily be, fine be true to your moral imperatives and given them equivalent prison time instead. Then we can all sleep at night with conscience.

        Maybe I'm wrong, but focusing on the inherent flaws of the system's implementation, statistics that prove it to be ineffective at what it claims to achieve, disproportionate punishment to severity of offenses, etc. seem like the more convincing arguments.

        Maybe I'm wrong.

        1. Roman, your arguments regarding the appropriate punishment for a crime is well thought out. Through legislatures, society determines the appropriate retribution for a crime, whether or not any individual agrees with the determination.

          What you are missing in your argument is that the sex offender registry is not considered as part of the punishment for a crime. Indeed it can not be deemed punishment, without encountering constitutional problems. Registries are non-judicial constraints imposed after all statutory debt for a crime has been fulfilled. That is a entirely different from parole or probation, which are substitutes for incarceration imposed as punishment for a crime.

          If registration was written into criminal statutes as punishment along with incarceration and fines, then your argument would be perfectly valid. At that point, the debate would legitimately deal with the conditions and duration of registration, just as are the allowable terms of incarceration for a crime.

    3. I think most Libertarians are for rehabilitation whenever possible. I’m sure even among the guilty there are many that can be rehabilitated. Our justice system has never taken rehabilitation seriously since it was designed by lawyers instead of mental health professionals.

  3. Was the actual perpetrator named Kavanaugh?

    1. Please turn in your Mensa membership card.....

  4. As a father of two girls... No.

    Keep them on the fucking lists, because it's left to society to punish what the courts punt on. It's really nice to have a map of every pervert in the city when planning Trick or Treat routes.

    1. Can you cite some cases of little girls being raped after knocking on the door of a sexual offense ex-con while Trick-or-Treating?

      1. Do you habitually walk into stupid, or do you take a step to the side?

        1. Do you habitually live in fear of dangers from your fantasy world, or do you ever make fact-based assessments of risks?

          1. Derp. How do you assess risk in the dark?

            1. With facts and reasoning. You seem unfamiliar with those.

              1. And where do you get these facts when you deny yourself a source of information? Mighty unreasonable.

                Are you done looking like a fool now?

                1. Again, what is your source of information about general "sex offenders" raping trick-or-treaters? How often does it happen? Where? When?

                  Are you done looking like you suffer paranoid delusions now?

        2. "Jane, you ignorant slut..."

    2. But you don't have a map of every pervert.

      1. Not everyone on the map is a pervert.

      2. Not every pervert is on the map.

      1. And is any of that to say having a map of many perverts is a bad thing? That it must be perfect or not at all?

      2. Also, not all perverts act upon the non-consenting or non-adults.

    3. Why is it relevant that you have two girls? Are all others not qualified to have an opinion on the subject?

      1. It's called a person reason to care? Sound vaguely familiar? Reasonable?

    4. Most sex crimes occur in the the home by someone known to the victim. Like a father.

      1. Really? When did you start molesting your daughters?

      2. Well, this is a stellar way to sound of as a miserable, pissy Democrat. You know there's TDS counseling available, yes?

      3. Cousins are a favorite target of sex offenders.

      4. Or a cousin!

  5. First Mr. Meroni it became crystal clear about a paragraph in that you are clueless about the issue. So here we go.....
    97% of federal and 95% of state cases end in plea deals. Why is that? The prosecutors have a far greater budget than public defenders who carry hundreds of cases each. That is indisputable. Poor people can't afford $20K to $50K for a private attorney. Charges are stacked to give prosecutors room to negotiate a 'deal.' Attorneys have expressed their displeasure with the 'trial penalty' some, who dare to choose to go to court believing they will get a fair shake, experience when the judge gives them the maximum sentence.

    Some say, "I would NEVER plead to something I didn't do. To that, I say Google Brian Banks. We say the public has and will continue to be groomed by the fear-mongering media. Legislators tell us in private that they know things have gone too far but if they do the right thing they will lose their legislative seat. To that, we say clear your conscience by doing the right thing.

    Our organization, Women Against Registry, advocates for the families who have a man or woman required to register, teenage individual registrant or sadly a child registered citizen.

    It is time to focus on restorative justice; restore the victim, perpetrator and community. Lastly, there is too much peer-reviewed empirical data to allow the stigma, hate, and carve-outs to continue.

    1. While I do see the danger of a sex offender registry used against the falsely accused or against the mentally infirm or prostitutes or johns engaged in victimless adult acts, I also give a hairy eyeball to the notions of "restorative justice" or "transformative justice." Does this mean time travel or bringing the dead back to life?

    2. How do you restore a murder victim?

      1. Reincarnation. Maybe we'll have that some day.

    3. How can you restore the victim and perpetrator? Unfuck them? Maybe some day it'll be possible to erase both of their memories. But why stop there? Give us all memories of a fantastic past!

      1. My reading of the MDMA/Ecstasy literature suggests we already have the ability to give us all memories of a fantastic past.

        But it is still illegal.

        And life remains strange.

    4. I don't disagree with your assertion that there are plenty of flaws in the system that too often yield unjust results. I'm not sure what exactly you think I have wrong, and what conclusion you are trying to help me reach with this added information.

      It seems like you're saying that the sex offenders registry is one of the many mismanaged aspects of the judicial system that produces disproportionate punishments to the crimes committed. I believe you. And I'm sure that if you had the power to make reforms the system would no doubt improve.

      The only assertion that's been floated here as somehow obviously self evident that I so far find unpersuasive is that the very concept of a sex offenders registry defies some kind of absolute moral principle that for some reason other, even more liberty restricting punishments, do not.

      I readily accept the assertion that the current implementation of that policy is inherently flawed and unjust. But if you tell me that it's morally acceptable to send a child rapist to jail for X number of years - I won't presume to guess what you think a just sentence for such a crime should be, but let's say it's 30 years - and it would not defy an absolute moral principle to keep him in prison for the entire 30 year sentence, than I don't see how it defies that moral principle to have him serve 20 years in prison and 10 years on the outside with major liberty restrictions including being on the sex offenders registry for the duration of that 10 years. Whatever restrictions you place on the convict, I'm sure he'd prefer that situation to having even less freedom in prison. Now if your argument is that is't how it works because in reality they would keep that guy on the Registry for life, then I'm totally with you. That's an implementation flaw and it should change. Only if a crime actually warrants a life sentence, in one form or another, should it be a possibility to keep the person on the registry for life. The discussion about how long sentences should be for what crimes is not one that I feel qualified to have. But assuming you approve of some length of sentence for any particular sex offense, do you concede that it isn't inhuman or immoral to let that prisoner serve part of that sentence out of prison but on the registry until his sentence is over? If you want to give him the option of serving the entire sentence in prison rather than going the sex registry on the outside route, then I'm fine with that. Let the convict decide if the sex registry option crosses some moral line that prison does not. But I doubt many of those sex offending philosophers will adhere to that school of thought.

      If you agree with my practical proposal then you also agree that there is no moral principle that prevents having a sex offenders registry be part of a sentence for certain crimes.

      But if there is some kind of moral or logical flaw in my thinking here, I'm certainly open to being persuaded.

      1. The registry is intended for extrajudicial punishment by the citizenry at large, basically vigilantism. It would be worse if it were added as part of a formal sentence, because it's a process that greatly suffers from due process protections. Since many people lack the financial means to properly defend themselves, this is yet another means to deprive them of legal protections.

        1. Or we could neuter and spay. I'm fine with that too.

      2. You are still missing the critical point that a sex offenders registry is not part of a sentence for certain crimes, nor is it a part of the judicial system! That fact is the fatal flaw in your reasoning.

  6. The book talked about the incorrect lineup identification. Apparently, a suspect is always legally allowed to choose other people to appear in the lineup with him. This particular suspect has a friend who looks almost identical to him whom he always insists on appearing in lineups.

    It did seem in the book that there was not enough evidence to convict beyond reasonable doubt. However, having a body double who appears in lineups next to you does make you look guilty of something.

    1. Are you saying the author intends the reader to reach the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt? Or do you think the author was convinced of his guilt but your own personal evaluation was that it shouldn't have been enough to convict?

  7. You are mixing up two things, wrongful convictions and sex offender registry.

    Wrongful conviction occur on all the criminal spectrum not just sex crimes and should be fought - like with the Innocence Project.

    As for the sex registry it seems one of those "one size fits all" solution - which means it does not fit anyone.

    Considering how traumatic a sex attack can be for the victim, I can be quite sanguine about the trauma experienced by the attacker when placed on the sex registry. The victim does not get well and over it just because the perpetrator's sentence is ended.

    But that there should be adjustments for less severe cases and code numbers assigned to them like "minimal danger" "minor danger" all the way "keep your eye out for this one" yes, that makes sense.

    1. Have you conidered one reason why this "teauma" is so "lasting" is because we've tethered the victim industry to the continued existence of sex offense registries and have victim
      advocates involved in every level of the justice system? It is awfully hard to move on with your life when it has become your civic duty to push for a harmful registry because victim advocates want to cause harm.

      1. Do you actually know any victims of sexual violence? The trauma lasts because it's traumatic.

      2. Oh, what a beautiful world would be if victims were told to shut up about their pain "for their own good". At least for your own convenience and desire not to be disturbed.

      3. What the fuck kind of lunatic logic is this bullshit? Punishing offenders harms the victims?

        Blow it out your ass.

      4. Bingo. Our culture of victimhood promotes a lifelong simmering in trauma. There is no tangible reward for moving on and finding happiness.

  8. Broadwater happened to be innocent, but even if he wasn't, shouldn't continuing education be available to those seeking stability and employment after being incarcerated?

    I can't help but notice this in light of progressives at ASU demanding Kyle Rittenhouse be expelled because online enrollment endangers them.

    This fact puts this statement in the different light:

    Inside Higher Ed recently reported that increasing interest in racial justice has led to colleges "ramping up efforts to serve students currently or formerly in prison." There is bipartisan agreement that this is a smart and ethical investment.

    As any knowledgeable person would expect the left's participation in "bipartisan" excludes anyone not in their tribe.

    1. Rittenhouse was guilty as sin. He was simply rich enough to pay for a good enough lawyer and fortunate enough to have a judge concerned about his well being. Had be been accused of a sex crime he would have experienced a far different trial than what he experienced.

      1. Actually his lawyer did quite a poor job. RH is lucky the facts of the case were so obviously on his side it didn't matter.

      2. Rittenhouse was not, and is not wealthy. If he were, this would have factored into every shrieking straw man fallacy next to 'crossed state line,' 'if he was black' and 'he had no right to be there.' Try again, without your bias.

      3. Yeah, you are a prime idiot. Tony's new crusty sock?

        Rittenhouse was found innocent in one of the most clear-cut and well documented cases of self-defense against a mob trying to kill him after he upset them by trying to extinguish a burning building. Try harder dipshit.

      4. Fuck you! Rittenhouse had to be funded by people who saw he was being railroaded by a corrupt and politically motivated prosecution!

  9. The ‘Untouchable’ Documentary shows how the Sex Offender Registry was originally intended for law enforcement, not the public. Should be a higher competency threshold for accessing such data and handling it responsibly. We live in a society where people believe conspiracies such as the one where child sex slaves were allegedly being trafficked in high-end furniture through Wayfair. Or else, create Public Registries for everyone who has ever been convicted of any crime. Then the “father of two” who commented above (understandably from the sole perspective of a protective-father) can also route his trick-or-treat adventures with maps of drunk drivers who kill kids, drug dealers who poison kids, etc…

    1. There are public registries of criminals, says the well-informed father of two, who also uses these public utilities to screen job applicants for his business.

      If you did something heinous, you deserve no sympathy or protection from the reactions to your choices. Fuck that bleeding heart bullshit all the way back to California and its flash robs.

      1. "There are public registries of criminals," is dismissive, and certainly comes across as less informed than you proclaim, because you are not in command of the facts. The closest thing to SORNA for drunk drivers (who kill kids very often in this country), is The National Driver Register, or the Driver License Compact. Those are for state agencies to cross-reference driving records to determine eligibility for driver licenses---------NOT a public accessed database of someone's photo, dob, address, phone number, height, weight, conviction history, along with the consequences of prison time for non-compliance or minor technical violations.

  10. This gentleman has been defending the rights of abused children for nearly all of his life. He might have some different opinions about pedophiles than the author http://www.vachss.com/mission/sick_vs_evil.html
    "[T]here's a difference between feeling the feelings and acting on the feelings. If you feel the desire to molest a child, I'll grant you that that's sick. If you act on it, it's evil. It's a different ball of wax. Can you see a couple of cops sitting around the interrogation room, and [a suspect is] being asked about an armed robbery, and he won't talk. Can you hear the cops saying, 'Well, gee, John's in denial.' Is there an offense called 'armed robberia'? These are child molesters. The fact that we have a pretty theatric term is simply a 'Get out of jail free' card. What you do, and not what it's called, is what counts. And to steal a child's soul, which is exactly what happens ... there is no greater crime."

    1. Andrew Vachss is part of the problem at the heart of this very story. Vachss uses terminology specifically designed to elicit hate and fear, which in turn has created a witch hunt environment. But most of Vachss's claims about people accused/convixted of sexual offenses are as much a work of fiction as his crime novels. He's just another parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood.

      1. You might think that what you are writing in these comments is advancing your cause or persuading others to see your point, but I'm going to suggest that it is having the opposite effect.

        1. That is merely the opinion of one person. No amount of reason will convince someone unwilling to reason, so sometimes it is simply fun to point out the stupidity of folks like you.

      2. Fuck off, NAMBLA. Badtouch kids and go to jail or get Rittenhoused.

  11. There are over 917,000 men, women and children (as young as 8 and 10 in some states) required to register. The "crimes" range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone 18 years old or younger, playing doctor, voyeurism, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child, the old bait-n-switch internet stings (taking sometimes 12 months before a person steps over the line) guys on the autism spectrum or with intellectual disabilities and many others.

    Multiply that number by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 3 million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being murdered, harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant. Academics and researchers indicate 3 things are needed for successful reintegration; a job, a place to live and a “positive” support system. Banning a registered citizen from drug treatment centers is not positive support.

    The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sexual Crime Statistics – ‘Frightening and High’ (Debunks the high recidivism rate cited by retired SCOTUS Justice Kennedy and current Chief Justice Roberts)

    It is very important that you read the abstract below and then the full 12-page essay by Ira Mark and Tara Ellman.

    ABSTRACT This brief essay reveals that the sources relied upon by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, a heavily cited constitutional decision on sexual offense registries, in fact provide no support at all for the facts about re-offense rates that the Court treats as central to its constitutional conclusions. This misreading of the social science was abetted in part by the Solicitor General’s misrepresentations in the amicus brief it filed in this case. The false “facts” stated in the opinion have since been relied upon repeatedly by other courts in their own constitutional decisions, thus infecting an entire field of law as well as policy-making by legislative bodies. Recent decisions by the Pennsylvania and California supreme courts establish principles that would support major judicial reforms of sexual offense registries, if they were applied to the facts. This paper appeared in Constitutional Commentary Fall, 2015.

    https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1429&context=concomm

    A study reviewing sex crimes as reported to police revealed that:
    a) 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser;
    b) 34.2% were family members;
    c) 58.7% were acquaintances;
    d) Only 7% of the perpetrators of child victims were strangers;
    e) 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victim’s own home;
    f) 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative (Jill Levenson, PhD, Lynn University)

    There is a tremendous need to fund programs like "Stop It Now" that teaches parents how to begin and maintain a dialog with their children to intervene "before harm occurs" and about grooming behaviors as well as other things at age-appropriate levels in their Circles of Safety.

    Here is an example of how our families are harmed. A well-meaning teacher printed out profile pictures of local registrants and put them on the board around the classroom. She promoted her effort to protect her students by suggesting they look at and remember those people. One student pointed at one picture and said, "Katie isn't that your dad?" It was....

    1. For the sake of argument, I’ll concede you’re right about everything. That still doesn’t matter, because the laws will not change, because logic can’t win elections over fear and hate.

      The politicians who promoted the registries were pandering for votes, for power. No one will vote to repeal, because they’ll lose votes, lose power.

      Your only hope is that some big enough cases land in the courts to reverse the registries.

      Good luck.

  12. Unfortunately, there are no repercussions for women who make false allegations, because the victim industry claims it will deter women from reporting actual rapes. Few people ever question the validity of allegations out of fear of being labeled a rape apologist or an actual rapist. We have rape shield laws and other laws that prevent the accuser's past from being used to scrutinize their claims. Reactionary movements like MeToo aim to silence anyone who dares question the dogma of "believe all women."

    Maybe referring to these high-profile victim advocates as a "business" does not go far enough. They're beyond a mere business. Many victim advocate groups are more like religious cults. After all, these groups have mantras ("believe all women" or "Save Our Children") and beliefs that are never to be challenged (like claims that most men are "sex offenders"). To question them is to "persecute" them. perhaps you can call them, "The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Victimhood."

    To make matters worse, these cults have exalted status in our society. The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) has three three victim advocates and no representation by any group that advocates for returning citizens. And during the public reeting on changing some language within the SOMB, including using an alternate term for "sex offender," it was the victim advocates and reps from law enforcement and prosecutors, not mental health professionals, trying to stymie the changing of the "sex offender" label.

    These victim advocates claim only 2% of accusations may be false. If that lowball number is true, that still means tens of thousands of innovent people are currently listed on America's sex offense registry.

    1. NAMBLA apologist.

      1. You say that, but you have proven it. It makes you look foolish.

        1. Have not.

          Fuck reason’s lack of edit.

  13. In a libertarian society, you'd certainly have privately maintained sex offender registries, so I don't really see a big issue from a libertarian perspective here.

    A bigger issue is the culpability of his accuser; he was convicted largely on the strength of Sebold's testimony, and she should face civil and possibly criminal liability for that.

    1. Even if she honestly believed he was the rapist but she was tragically mistaken?

      Obviously if it can proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she knowingly accused an innocent man of rape then they should bury her under the prison. But unless there's evidence she had some incentive to do that, don't you think it's kind of unlikely? She'd have to have some kind of severe personality disorder to intentionally send the wrong guy to prison knowing that it means they won't even try to find the actual rapist. Unless she had reason to protect the actual rapist, but for whatever reason couldn't avoid reporting the crime. Then she's crazy enough to write a book about the rape the way she knows it didn't happen, which is the only reason anyone would ever have reason to scrutinize her story... which inevitably leads to the convicted guy being exonerated.

      I change my mind. Sounds legit to me.

      But setting aside the unhinged sociopathic angle for a moment, are you perhaps suggesting that there be more of an incentive for a victim to testify that she isn't 100% sure of the defendant's guilt unless she's so sure that she's willing to risk severe punishment herself if the guy turns out to be exonerated?

      I can see some kind of merit to that general concept, but good luck getting it implemented. And good luck not getting credible death threats for even suggesting such a thing.

      1. Even if she honestly believed he was the rapist but she was tragically mistaken?

        Yes: being "mistaken" about destroying another person's life means a callous degree of carelessness.

        But she wasn't just mistaken, she was angry and wanted someone to pay. On top of that, she knew that she had failed to pick the guy she accused out of a line.

        I can see some kind of merit to that general concept, but good luck getting it implemented. And good luck not getting credible death threats for even suggesting such a thing.

        Women have higher levels of education, lower rates of cancer, far lower levels of vascular disease, far lower levels of occupational deaths and disability, far lower levels of mental disease, far lower levels of homelessness and drug addiction, and far higher levels of disposable income while working less. Women receive massive transfers of wealth via the government already and want even more. Yet politicians fall all over themselves to institute new programs to help poor, persecuted, oppressed women. Of course women won't get held responsible for false or careless witness statements; to the contrary, the mere accusation from a woman of sexual impropriety is enough for a man to lose his job, get kicked out of college, and destroy his life.

        Heterosexual men in Western societies give women whatever they want and are willing to subscribe to the most absurd belief systems because of it.

        Of course nothing is going to change. Well, not until society collapses.

    2. A libertarian society wouldn’t have a sex offense list, because it violates the NAP by intentionally hurting a person beyond their just sentence through due process.

  14. “Contrary to popular belief, those with sex offense convictions actually have lower recidivism rates than those convicted of most other offenses…”

    Here are some highlights from the cited study:
    “Within 9 years of their release from prison in 2005—
    * „Rape and sexual assault ofenders were less likely than other released prisoners to be arrested, but they were more likely than other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault.„
    * Released sex ofenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault (7.7% versus 2.3%).
    * Half of released sex ofenders had a subsequent arrest that led to a conviction.”

    That isn’t a convincing argument for adopting softer treatment of sex offenders the way I read it.
    There are several reasons society deems sex offenders more contemptuous than other violent criminals, not the least of which is that we know many of their crimes go unreported.
    Certainly the exonerated should be well-compensated for their suffering due to injustice, but I find that I have no sympathy for sex offenders who are struggling with the burden of their crime(s) after serving their prison sentence.

    1. "There are several reasons society deems sex offenders more contemptuous than other violent criminals, not the least of which is that we know many of their crimes go unreported."

      If crimes go unreported, how do you know they are "many"? This is a classic appeal to ignorance, open to personal biases like the assumption you just made.

      1. Welcome to Hollywood, dipshit. #metoo

        Progs really are the vilest creatures.

      2. Do you happen to know of any sex offender crimes that went unreported? Do you?

    2. That isn’t a convincing argument for adopting softer treatment of sex offenders the way I read it.
      There are several reasons society deems sex offenders more contemptuous than other violent criminals

      Actually, all those reasons just reduce to one root cause: straight men only think with their little head when it comes to women. They think that white knighting is the way to impress women and get sex. And white knighting becomes particularly toxic when combined with collectivism and social welfare states.

      Short term, your attitude may seem like it's compassionate and caring to you. Long term, it destroys societies.

  15. The other issue with Sex Offender Registries is that the public tends to view them as exhaustive. People consult the registries to find neighborhoods that they think are safer because there are no sex offenders listed as living there; but somewhere near 90% of sex offenders are never prosecuted. Another 25% are allowed to plead to lesser offenses that carry no obligation to be ON the registry. (In Alaska a Sexual Assault in the First Degree defendant was famously allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor "Breaking and Entering" [no pun intended]). There are far more offenders NOT on the list than on the list. The list gives the public a false sense of knowing where the monsters are and who they are.
    On the other hand, there is real benefit in the registry in providing some degree of justice to victims in cases like the Brock Turner case where a Judge decided that a wealthy, connected athlete need serve only six months (minus time served and good time leaving about 90 days of actual incarceration) for brutally raping an unconscious co-ed in an alley. Mandatory placement on the sex offender registry would be the ONLY appropriately serious consequence to that sort of idiotic decision.

  16. While this particular case appears to me a miscarriage of justice, it has no bearing on the concept of sex offender registries in general. As a parent, I think I have a right to know if my neighbor went to prison for raping children. It’s hard to protect your kids if the government won’t let you discern between Captain Kangaroo and John Wayne Gacey. All because you’re out of jail doesn’t mean your punishment is done. The people on the registries should thank their lucky stars they live in an “enlightened” (read: stupid) era. In the old days, they would have been executed; an option with a 0% recidivism rate.

    1. If it was limited to that, I might agree with you. However, the vast, VAST majority of people on the registry are guilty of nonsense like public urination, not serious crimes that we want to be concerned about. The reason is that there are orders of magnitude more petty offenders than serious criminals.

      Secondly, it's clear that creating laws that prevent criminals from living legally post-prison pushes them back to crime. After all, if you cannot get any job or live anywhere, your only option is to live in the street and panhandle or rob.

    2. Yeah, I'm with ya. And in fact, if that was all the sex offender registry was, I'd be highly in favor of it. As it stands, when things like urinating in public can get you on the list, I'm not so favorable to having a scarlet letter to cover such a wide array of crimes.

  17. Well done. Here's another innocent man you should write about. Jerry Sandusky. You don't even have to do any journalistic heavy lifting. All the works been done. This is the 10th anniversary of the case and the media has almost entire ignored it, including (I'm sad to say) Reason. Check out the astounding 50 plus hour podcast series, With the Benefit of Hindsight:

    https://twitter.com/Zigmanfreud/status/1382778337005768706

  18. "His case starkly highlights the needless cruelty of sex offense registries."

    Really? YGBSM!!!

    Yes, occasionally a mistake is made in justice. The fact that this case was 20 years ago when we had far less forensic capabilities highlights that TODAY we are FAR less likely to make such a mistake. So, for the individual it is tragic when it happens and there should (and probably will, through civil cases) be some compensation to the wronged. Maybe not enough to make up for the wrong, but it is RARE.

    Meanwhile, the sex registry is far from too harsh. If anything our country is FAR too lenient on violent criminals. The older I get, the more I see, the more I realize our country made a horrible mistake ending corporal punishment. Repeat sex offenders should immediately and automatically incur loss of all genitalia, and forever wear monitoring devices.

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