Most families remain intact following a sexual offense by a family member and as a result they suffer the collateral consequences of the registry. Wives have lost jobs, children have been harassed in school, families have been forced to move - and in a growing number of cases, vigilantes have murdered registrants – tragically taking a beloved spouse, parent, child or sibling from a family.
Family members are fully aware that their loved one has committed a crime and that their decision to stay with and support a former offender will come with certain burdens. USA FAIR only asks that registry laws and the burdens that they create be based on research, evidence and facts - and that follow-up studies be done to see if these laws have had their intended effect.
Too many of these laws have been driven by emotion and fear – often in response to heinous crimes committed by monstrous offenders whom in no way are representative of the vast majority of law abiding registrants.
We are willing to endure the burdens of constitutionally permissible laws that legitimately protect the community. However, research is starting to emerge that demonstrates that many of these laws simply don’t work. We are not willing to sit silently and suffer the consequences of laws that are “political placebos” that may feel good – but don’t actually protect anyone from anybody.
USA FAIR believes that lawmakers must take into greater consideration the impact of the sex offender registry on the family members of former offenders – the hidden innocent victims of the registry.
We respectfully appeal to elected officials… as you act to protect families, remember that we are families too – and that there is the same love in our families that there is in yours. In your deliberations, we look to your sense of fairness and decency to give our plight some deserved weight on the scales of justice.