Sexual assault on children and sexual offenses, in general, are among the biggest challenges that we face as a society. Any child could be a target – from those still in grade school to those already in high school. A sexual predator often works stealthily. As a result, the victims and their parents remain oblivious to what is happening until it’s too late. This problem is made even more aggravating by the unfortunate fact that a child molester could actually be a person that you, as a parent, trust or that your kid looks up to.
Sexual Offenses and Sex Offender Registry
Sexual offenses or sex crimes may be defined differently depending on the jurisdiction or state in which they occurred. The most common sex crimes against children include pornography, exploitation, molestation, and abduction.
Some sexual offenses may fall under federal law, specifically Title 18 of the United States Code. Most sex offenses, however, fall under the jurisdiction of state law. Penalties and sentencing for sex crimes depend on factors like the nature of the offense, circumstances, parties involved, and the state where the crime was committed. In general, sexual offenses involving children have serious penalties and harsh sentences. A first-degree rape or assault, for example, is punishable by 15 years to life imprisonment.
Persons with sex crime convictions are required to list themselves in the registry; the failure to do so is considered a sex offense. Registered sex offenders are not allowed to live too close to schools and must notify the authorities whenever they move. The Department of Justice maintains the National Sex Offender Public Website which allows anyone to search for the identity and location of known or registered sex offenders in all states. The different states also maintain sex offender registries. There are also third-party people search engines or background check sites that allow people to look up known sex offenders.
Real Sex Offender Stories
Gregory Lee Torti endured a life of a convicted sex offender for almost 20 years. Regularly monitored by the authorities, banned from child-safety zones, unable to enroll in college without administrators’ permission, forced to carry his blue sex offender registration ID card all the time, along with several other consequences a pervert has to live with – all these he endured due to, apparently a bad “hotdog” joke to a kid.
Greg was a troublesome and wild teen, and as his mother had put it, “always acting crazy”. However, he may be guilty of several other charges such as theft, assault, and drug dealing, aggravated sexual abuse of a child is one thing he won’t and can’t do. After all, he himself is a victim of rape. It turned out his rebellion has always been fueled by this rage for this stranger who raped him twice when he was just 9 years old. Eventually, once things got too much for him did he find the courage to tell his mom about the incident.
Martina was sent by his heavy drinker and abusive parents to a Catholic school that was, apparently, run by cruel nuns and an abusive priest. One windy day, Martina was punished for a metal bin lid that flew up in the air and hit a nun on the head. As a punishment, he was sent to Father Gregory, the school’s parish priest for a confession. After the confession, the priest undid his pants and said that she’s a naughty girl and her penance was to touch his penis. That was the first day of regular sexual abuse for Martina. The priest even once brought her inside the church at the side of the altar and raped her. She never told her parents about this as they are always drunk and they didn’t seem to care. She couldn’t even tell the nuns as they would just call her dirty and disgusting. She endured the abuse until she had left for high school.
Key Takeaways From Sex Offender Encounters
A nightmare – this is how people who’ve had a brush with sex offenders usually sum up their experience. The victim and their loved ones undergo great trauma. From the sex offender stories mentioned previously, there are some lessons parents can learn.
Communication Is Essential
Communication is a crucial aspect of any parent-child relationship. Having open communication with your child will help protect them from lurking dangers like sexual predators. Nurturing a loving and open relationship with your kids could very well be what could save them from falling victims to sex offenders.
In many stories of sex offender encounters, the abuse or assault could have been prevented if only the kids were educated on such matters. Many victims are not even aware that they were already being abused. Arm your kids with knowledge; teach them how to determine various dangers and what to do if they find themselves in dangerous situations.
Set Technology Use Limits
Before giving children phones or devices, it is important that they understand that such ownership is a responsibility and is subject to rules. Parents must make sure to draw a clear line on data usage limits and phone/device use before giving their children a device. Rules, however, are often seen by teens as restrictions even though such rules are set to keep them safe and teach them about responsibility. That said, it is important to talk to your children and explain to them the need for the rules, and listen to what they have to say.
As a society, it is our duty to protect children at all costs from all abhorrent forms of sexual abuse. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears opened; pay attention to your kids and to every person they come in contact with. Be the adult that your children could trust and run to if ever they feel threatened. Paying attention and reporting to the proper authorities are already great steps toward helping decrease, if not totally eradicate, the number of sex crimes in your area.