I’m not a parent; I do not know the “unconditional love at first sight” a parent feels the moment their newborn is placed into their hands, or the feeling of wanting to give my everything to protect this tiny little human from this beautiful yet harsh, cold world. I’m years away from having a child I may opt to homeschool, a child who I will try to keep innocent yet grounded in reality, a child who questions and wonders and is eager to learn, a child who - hopefully - loves black olives and broccoli as much as I do.
I am not a parent; but it doesn’t take a parent to experience feelings of pure disgust when an individual who commits a sexual assault on a child receives a “slap on the wrist” for his or her actions. It takes a human with a little common sense.
Regardless of age, sexual assault is detrimental for the victim. Standing in a room with four of your closest friends and a mirror, I’d be willing to bet more than one of you has either been the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault at some point in your life.
Sexual assault, be it molestation, rape, incest - or the “attempted” of any of these - is horrific and inexcusable. When such an offense is committed against a child, shouldn’t the perpetrator receive a punishment that fits the crime? The victim will never, ever be the same; wings of innocence clipped far too early. Therapy will most definitely be needed, yet all too often it’s not as beneficial as we’d like it to be. Trust is usually thrown out the window, along with self-confidence and self-worth. The life is forever altered.
Where, then, should the perpetrator stand? Six-month split sentence, probation, time served, sex offender registration ...? Is that justice? After a quick sex offender registry search of 13 areas in Chenango County, I found 129 registered sex offenders. There would be more if I looked up each and every town or village, but coming across 129 after searching for only seven minutes was disgusting enough and proved to be a stopping point for me. Mind you, Level 1 sex offenders will not show up on a search.
If one were to conduct a search on their own, details are readily available regarding type of offense, address of offender, and most importantly to me at the moment - sentence. After clicking on some offenders at random, here are some sentences I saw, along with the level of designation of the offender: Level 2, six months local jail, 10 years probation; Level 2, 10 years probation; Level 3, 10 years probation; Level 2, six years probation; Level 3, one to three years state prison; Level 3, one year local jail; Level 3, 18 months to three years state prison; Level 3, 10 years probation.
Let that sink in for a moment. A Level 3 sex offender ... ten years probation. That individual was convicted of sexual contact with an individual less than 11 years old. The information available to the public states the victim in that case was a nine year old female. That girl has been adversely affected for arguably the rest of her life. Plain and simple. Where is the offender? The offender - whose information states he is a “sexually violent and predicate offender” - he is doing who knows what, and showing up at probation whenever it’s required of him.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. This year a drug user was sentenced to three and a half years in state prison followed by three years of post-release supervision. It was the second time the man had been charged with drugs in this county. Would that classify him as a “predicate offender?” Shouldn’t he be given ten years probation just like the man convicted of a sexual act against a child? Or is drug possession worse than ruining a child’s innocence forever?
Another individual charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance accepted a plea deal offered to him, and will serve two years in prison followed by two years probation. Did this man ruin a child’s life? Did he strip a little tiny human of their dignity, their purity? I doubt it. He was probably just looking for a high; essentially hurting himself. He’ll do his time, and people will continue to bring drugs to the area. “Problem” not solved.
While the drug offenders occupy the jails and prisons, sex offenders are occupying our streets.
Why are people charged with such heinous sexual crimes offered plea deals? I imagine part of it has to do with the added emotional trauma for the victim if the case is taken to trial. However - offering six months to a child molester ... that’s justice? Maybe I’m the only one who finds that absolutely ludicrous, but I certainly hope not.
Now I’m not going to say the “War on Drugs” is an epic failure ... wait ... yes I am. Why not focus time and efforts on violent sexual crimes against the future of our society?
John Doe had some drugs on him ... let’s use up our resources and throw him in jail for two years ... that’ll teach him not to put a naturally occurring plant into his body (note my sarcasm).
Sure, heroin use is rampant throughout the county, and that’s not something to be proud of. But take a look at all the sexual offenses as of late ... they’re just as common, if not more common. The folks hurting our youth are taking pleas and getting probation. Many have been deemed sexually violent, have committed sexual offenses in the past, and may very likely do so in the future. It’s also important to note that it’s all too common for rapes and sexual assaults to not be reported, so you never really know who is out there. That’s my point though ... they’re out there. The marijuana dealer ... don’t fear - he’ll be behind bars ... your children will be “safe” on that front.
This world is filled with amazing, beautiful, intelligent, loving individuals. It really is. But when I take a look around and see the most vile, the lowest, the most degrading of human beings convicted of sexual offenses essentially let off the hook while our resources and elected officials target drug offenders ... that’s a society where I don’t know if I’d be comfortable bringing another tiny human into the world. It’s not because I’m paranoid that my future offspring will be a victim of said crime, it just says volumes about the state of things. Don’t get me wrong ... it doesn’t just happen locally. It happens all over. Chenango County is not alone. But something has got to change.
No, I’m not a parent; I’ve never lost sleep due to a baby with colic, never made the decision between disposable or cloth diapers, never had to worry about my child being bullied or being the bully in school. But you know what? Right now I’m totally fine with that. I can do without that “unconditional love at first sight” moment, I can handle not knowing the love a parent has for their child first-hand for now. I can hold out for a while to find out if little “Felix” will like black olives.
I’m not a parent; but it shouldn’t take a parent to be outraged.
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