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Why increasing penalties against registered sex offenders in Oklahoma is nonsense

By Sandy . . . Early in May 2023, a man in Oklahoma shot to death his wife, her three children, two friends of the children who were there for a sleepover, and then himself.

Demands for action to prevent future, similar incidents were swift.

Demands for increased mental health services? No.

For increased gun safety? No.

For better awareness on the part of family and friends of the warning signs of something like this happening? No.

The shooter was a registrant on the Oklahoma sex offense registry, and registrants and their advocates across the nation knew the minute the news of the incident hit the airwaves what the demands would be.

Jesse McFadden was out on probation following incarceration for a 2003 sexual offense conviction. He was facing trial for a new charge committed in 2017.

The family of McFadden’s wife and grandchildren have issued a lengthy  petition. Their demands are that persons convicted in the future of a sexual offense against a child be imprisoned for life with no parole and that persons with a sexual crime conviction against a child who are already released 1) have their  supervision and community notification requirements stringently increased 2} not be allowed to marry someone with children 3) not be allowed to have their own children.

Their surface reasoning, of course, cannot be faulted. If McFadden had remained in prison, their daughter and grandchildren would still be alive. The second point, besides being open to constitutional challenges, is weak as it disregards the will of the partner. If forbidden to marry, the couple could well choose to live together unmarried.

The irony is that McFadden’s conviction is not a child sexual crime conviction. He would not have been subject to any of the family’s proposed laws.

But that’s not what makes these demands unnecessary.

They are unneeded, even foolish, because they will not bring about the desired results.

McFadden’s last, maddened act of murder of his family has nothing to do with his having a sexual crime conviction. Committing murder/suicide is not a characteristic of a sexual offender. When registrants commit a significant reoffense – as, on average, five percent or less are prone to do — it is generally of a  sexual nature.

One can understand the family’s unspeakable grief and deep-seated need to find a “cure” for such horror, but they are looking in the wrong place for their answers.

Targeting men on registries who have committed offenses against children will do nothing but bring down more wrath upon a population already subject to severe rules, regulations, and ostracism – a population of whom 95% or more will not commit another sexual offense and certainly will not murder their families.

Where then should they look? Can these rare but horrific crimes be predicted and thus prevented?

Logic tells us no. Can anything be done?

A starting place would be to look at the characteristics of those who commit this type of crime.

These are the dominant factors that research shows: 1) white males 2) weapon was a gun/access to gun 3) step-children in the home 4) prior domestic violence

McFadden ticks the first three boxes and quite possibly all four, as the family speaks of how controlling he was with their daughter and the children. There is no evidence of a complaint of domestic violence in McFadden’s history, but that is a seldom-reported crime.

Interestingly, one of the researchers makes a point of including this: “However, a past criminal history is not a reliable or significant predictor in murder-suicide.”

Given this, should the family’s petition rather request that white men with domestic violence complaints not be allowed to own guns or marry women with children?

No one, or almost no one, would support such a law, but it makes more sense than laws targeting sexual offense registrants, which many will support.

The family’s grief is understandable. It evokes empathy. It wants something, somebody to be held accountable.

Jesse McFadden, the sexual offense registrant, is not that person.

Jesse McFadden, the murderer, is.

Sandy Rozek

Written by 

Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

7 Thoughts to “Why increasing penalties against registered sex offenders in Oklahoma is nonsense”

  1. AvatarJ L

    Just when you think that things are slowly moving towards rational thinking behind laws, this person goes and makes the rest of our efforts that much more difficult. As we saw in Florida, with their legislature not passing the bill to require neon license plates, Torsilieri in Pennsylvania, as well as the progress in Michigan reworking SORA to be better and less onerous, (Though still arguably, too much government control without effectuating the desired outcome for the “legitimate governmental interest); the will of the affiliate groups and their supporters has never been stronger and continues to do so each week and month.

    However, when people go off the deep end and have the label of a Person Forced to Register, the masses will demand that all PFR’s be castrated and locked away – key thrown down a well and everything. And to the masses, that would still be a mercy because “they’re breathing”.

    When will the violence against all registered individuals stop? Probably never as the government can use incidents like this to further their control and grip over an already beaten, ostracized group of people who are just trying to live their lives in peace and make amends for the mistakes of their past.

    1. AvatarD. Quackenbush

      Perfectly said. Not even known murderers have to register! The registry has done nothing to help citizens or children. It’s just another way to label people who have already paid with prison time and keep punishing them. They are not allowed to truly be free and be productive citizens. Government is losing the war on drugs so now filling our prisons with sex offenders is the new money making machine.

    2. AvatarWC_TN

      I’ve said this time and time again and we are surely seeing it in certain political circles, pedophile hysteria is constantly being fanned into a roaring, all-consuming fire. I see posts all over Facebook about a movie called “The Sound of Freedom”, which is supposedly based on the true story of a retired government agent who goes all over the world rescuing children caught up in human trafficking rings.

      We are a bi-partisan whipping boy in reality because any law that finds new, inventive, and usually much crueler ways to put the screws to us are a gold mine for votes.

    3. AvatarWC_TN

      This has never been about safety or any of the other bogus reasonings our courts seemingly blindly uphold in most instances. This is about pure, unadulterated revenge with compounded interest. Nothing draws out the most depraved and violent tendencies in people than the reporting of the arrest or release of a child molester. If you doubt that, just read the comments on any article where some vigilante murdered a P.F.R. with a molestation charge. Just about every last commenter thinks the murderer should get a medal for community service and NOT a criminal prosecution of any kind. Many characterize the vigilante murder of a registered child molester as “taking out society’s trash”.

  2. AvatarConvicted Witch

    Amen to your comment WC_TN !
    I’ve heard lots of people saying that the law makers need to understand the SOR does not protect the public . The fact is they do not care how it affects the person on the registry . As long as posing more penalties on registrants gets them a vote they pass the law .
    In the 17th century a man named Matthew Hopkins appointed himself Witch finder general . He received a handsome payment for every witch he found . The SOR and the politicians are on a modern day witch hunt ! On the form I have to register on quarterly at the top of the form are 2 boxes , Court determined sexual predator , yes or no . Mine is checked No . If I am not a predator then I pose no threat to anyone . And if I pose no threat then being on the registry for 25 years subjected to the restraints and restrictions is pure unadulterated punishment ! To label a person a witch does not make them a witch . The politicians have a play on words such as , A Registered Sex Offender . To sentence a boy of 18 years to life on the registry for having sex with his 15 year old sweetheart is a Criminal act in itself . They do not care who gets put on the registry as long as they receive their handsome payment (Matthew Hopkins Witch finder general) . Who are the real criminals here ?

  3. AvatarMike

    Well besides all that, what about suing our federal government, local county, local police dept. The reason I say all of that is because of all of the innocent people convicted and in prison and all of those on sex offender registry. Because it completely destroyed there lives and there wife and there childrens lives, so they can move up the ladder in their career. In reality that’s definition of character for all the innocent and doesn’t allow those that are guilty of a crime to turn there life around, that’s what true reabilitaion is. I’m innocent and in the police report there’s nothing in it about anything sexual, no pictures were sent, there was no children involved, it was a police sting. But I was convicted anyways. I lost my house my job, lost all my friends and all of family, may have lost my truck, I’m on welfare, my wife is divorcing me. I have been fighting this and struggling to get out of all of this, not sure if I will be able to, nobody cares about innocence anymore.

  4. AvatarThomas

    Here are some of the problems I see. This guy took his own life because he knew the consequences. Already required to register, committed a second offense, obtuse punishment about to be increased.

    You already have to deal with an suppressed ability to find work. I was almost guaranteed a job not to long ago, until I think they found my picture (thank you Florida) on the internet for an misdemeanor offense 25 years ago. I already got increased from 25 years to life registration due to moving. You think increasing punishment works? It only makes people more desperate. And what is above states explicitly “retroactive” increased punishment. If you set that standard/ability, it will not end at sex offenses. NOPE!!

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