How do persons on sex offender registries get in trouble?

By Sandy . . . Do they reoffend with another sexual crime? Yes, but rarely. Do they commit petty offenses? Yes, sometimes. Do they violate the terms of supervision or the registry? Yes, some.

Do they live normal, ordinary, law-abiding lives? Yes, the vast majority.

Do they still get in trouble and become the subjects of ridicule and condemnation for living their ordinary, law-abiding lives, and do they cause—usually inadvertently–those who would help, befriend, or love them condemnation and often worse? Yes, probably more often than we would believe.

A registrant in California was working as an umpire with a company that had a contract to supply umpires at baseball games, including Pony League games. His occupation and his working at games played by minors were completely legal. Nevertheless, the headline screamed, “Registered sex offender umpired Monterey County Pony league games, says president.” The league has “chosen to terminate its relationship” with the contractor, possibly putting the registrant’s job at jeopardy. Even if that was not the case, the contracting company lost a client because it provided employment for registrants.

In South Dakota, the headline makes the issue clear: “Teacher resigns after inviting registered sex offender to classroom as guest speaker.” Neither the teacher nor the registrant was doing anything illegal or against school or district policy. However, the teacher lost her job due to the incident. In the face of public pressure, both the teacher and the school superintendent tendered their resignations, but the school board accepted only that of the teacher. The registrant’s conviction was in 2017.

In yet another situation, this one in Rhode Island, doing something that was not illegal cost someone her job. An employee of a YMCA allowed her registrant fiancé to wait for her inside the building while she finished work. “Cranston YMCA employee fired for letting sex offender on grounds,” announced the headline. He was apparently breaking no laws in being there as he was not arrested. He wasn’t hiding or being “sneaky”; he was sitting at the entrance table right by the front door in plain view. She was promptly fired.

In a just-released report in Massachusetts, an entity no less than the state government is in trouble.  “Massachusetts placed homeless families in shelters with sex offenders, report says,” details that persons and families in need of temporary housing were placed where “sex offenders live or work.” The report goes on to say that the housing agency is “in the process of removing the identified sex offenders.” A logical translation of what that process means is that an untold number of registrants, through no fault of theirs and in the absence of any criminality, are now displaced from their homes and /or fired from their jobs.

A convoluted and multi-layered situation in Alabama presents the opinion that people with convictions for historic sexual offenses should not be allowed to serve in roles that are interwoven with the very fabric of our communities. “Case of missing child sparks concerns over sex offender fire chief in Barbour County” is the latest chapter in an older controversy, that of a registrant, with his background fully known, who was appointed chief of a small town volunteer fire department. The search for a missing child—later found unharmed—was the catalyst for the more recent upheaval. A woman who says she had been a victim of sexual abuse was incensed that the registrant fire chief was “allowed” to be part of the search party for the missing child and started an on-line campaign to have him removed from his position. An Alabama legislator authored a bill to prohibit registrants from working as first responders in the state; the bill failed to gain momentum in the session just ended. The fire chief resigned his position amidst all the controversy. His conviction was in 1998.

In Ohio, a media outlet appears to take pride in “outing” a registrant and causing the priest who was helping him to be fired. News 5, an ABC affiliate, announced, “Local Catholic pastor forced to resign following News 5 Investigation into sex offender volunteer.” The pastor may or may not have used poor judgement in allowing the registrant to fill the volunteer position that he did, but no laws appear to have been broken as no one was arrested. The diocese is indicated as knowing about the status of the registrant, which would indicate the firing is the result of public pressure.

A common element, remarkably similar from story to story, is easily discernible in every story. “There have been no reported incidents and all their children are safe”; “Student safety was not compromised”; “There’s no indication that he had any interactions with YMCA members or children”; “. . . did not interact with kids”‘ “. . . no issues from the presence of these offenders.”

People who employ, befriend, or otherwise engage those on a sex offender registry may be putting their reputations and their jobs at risk. This is at total odds with the mission statements of many states’ correctional departments that claim to support and provide opportunities for rehabilitation and second chances to those in their system.

How are these missions to be achieved if opportunities to become rehabilitated are denied? How are persons on sex offense registries to have the ability to use their rehabilitation, often even after many years, if the granting of second chances is more likely than not to be met with negativity and if every step forward is countered with two steps back?

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.

16 Thoughts to “How do persons on sex offender registries get in trouble?”

  1. AvatarSean

    I have bloodhounds. I was SAR certified. The powers that be asked to barrow my hounds. I said no.

  2. AvatarJann Patterson

    We as a society must act better to be better. Persons on the sex offender registry continue to be punished every day in multiple ways that makes it very difficult if not impossible to thrive upon release from prison. Registrants need to have their rights restored and the registry abolished.

  3. AvatarAllen

    All these registration, presence, and residency laws are public proclamations by the government they feel they have failed to properly do their jobs of rehabilitating persons with a sex offense. So instead of government doing their jobs they are going to punish the very citizens they were suppose to be helping fit safely back into society. Who are the real heartless lazy criminals here, making laws based on hate, fear and bigotry that do not really protect society, but only encourage more fear hate, and bigotry. Welcome to the USA.

  4. AvatarObvious answers

    That’s why I left the country. Conviction was in 1997 for consensual activity with a minor that started in a card at the door bar. Everytime I got a job,worked hard was promoted or given a raise as soon as a jealous Karen heard she would scream to management “but he is an rso” and then there goes the job or if that didn’t do the trick the state police would show up at the factory or foundry and make a big scene of making sure that sex offender was there.. workers would talk and management would get nervous and I’d get escorted to the door by often very apologetic but afraid employers. Multiple jobs and every single one lost because the registry. Now Hitlers America is trying to force rso who have escaped its borders and its cruel and inhumane tortures to be returned to the US for more abuse and torment by leaning on other countries the way the state police and “fake news led public opinion” have leaned on US employers.

  5. AvatarFormer Offender

    The point is no matter what good you accomplish after your conviction, you are still seen as a sex offender. I’m overseas and some employers ask for a US FBI criminal background check. It’s crazy. So all of that work since didn’t matter. Because it is common knowledge if they find out, there is no way they’ll hire me. My offense happened 34 years ago. The truth is that it is a lifetime red check against you despite how you have tried to rehabilitate yourself.

    1. AvatarTom Chambers

      That is true for anyone convicted of a crime especially a felony. In this country anyone who committed a felonious crime will likely find difficulty getting employment. But they do have more opportunities than convicted sex offenders

    2. AvatarTim in WI

      I find it interesting how calling it ” A registry of sex offenders” clouds the reality that it’s government database. And a database to which registrants are compelled by law to maintain the machine property by law.
      Most are involuntary servants to the property.

    3. AvatarCJ

      ‘Former Offender’

      Also, we all forget nowadays in this internet world, Search Engines; Anyone with a Conviction appears on Internet Search Engines for the Rest of their lives

      For Example:
      Flori-Duh’s FDLE Offender Network has a way of being able to put the Citizen Forced to Register’s Name at the top of the Google Internet Search List…curious how FDLE is able to leverage Google to do that…interesting fact…so if you go on Google and search John DDDDD, who is a Citizen who is Forced to Register, John DDDDD’s name appears first in the Internet Search

      So at the end of the day, all Citizens Forced to Register will always be on a ‘LIST’; no matter what

      Only solution is to pay a real reputation defender where they can get your name reduced down on the internet search lists from like number one to maybe 100K in the search

      but that costs btw $250K-$750K. For True

  6. AvatarCJ

    I believe your Headline is incorrect

    ‘They’ do not get into trouble…..Their mere existence causes problems in the minds of most….The terminology is incorrect

    They are NOT SEX OFFENDERS unless they are currently sexually offending which 99.9999% are not currently sex offending

    The preferred term is A Person Forced to Register

    The Media and NARSOL at large are using the wrong terminology

    Other Organizations are now using the term ‘A Person Forced to Register’ per my input and the fact I have a federal lawsuit pending as the definition has never been formally defined!

    If the media at large used the term. ‘A person forced to Register’….well the stranger danger mentality will decrease exponentially

    thank you Sandy for all you do. But lets get on the same page!

    1. AvatarWilliam Hart

      Excellent suggestion. I always refer to myself as a “registered citizen”.

    2. Sandy RozekSandy Rozek

      Thank you, CJ. I appreciate your input.
      NARSOL does not call persons on the registry “sex offenders”; we actively protest the use of this term for the reason you give and others. I have written against it. We changed our name from RSOL to NARSOL to avoid using it. Yes, the media still does, extensively. That is unlikely to change as it generates clicks. The term “person forced to register” originated with the Registry Matters podcast and has not gained wide acceptance outside of that community. There are a great many people, readers, who would have no idea what “registering” was. They know what the sex offense registry is. Note, I say sex OFFENSE, not offender. I hope we are on the same page.

    3. AvatarCJ

      Yes Ms Sandy….the Term SO conjures all sorts of things in peoples minds…..

      So for example…a person who is convicted of Drunk Driving etc….Do we refer to them as a ‘Freakin Drunk’…..probably not

      When the words SO are used in various ways it creates a Stigma for which that person cannot retaliate against …these words are everlasting stains on the person forced to register

      my case is headed to the 3rd Federal Circuit. we shall see how it pans out. a certain SCOTUS judge heads up the 3rd Fed Circuit…..he was a good friend of former Justice Ruth G

      A Slightly leftist view may bring a small change. but we always hope for the best and prepare for the worst….Semper Fi

  7. AvatarWilliam Hart

    I just read this case law that seems to indicate that registered citizens have some rights that have been denied to us by Sheriff’s departments. I recommend that everyone read it.
    Thurston v. Frye, 99 F.4th 665 (April 29, 2024)

  8. AvatarGeorge Simmonds

    I used to live in Syracuse, NY and there is this agency that helps people and they got some heat for hiring this Level 2 sex offender as a counselor. But the funny thing was there were no crimes committed by him. There were several newspaper articles where people bitched about this, but I did not see one positive article saying something like this he committed no crimes while on the job so perhaps we should evaluate how we treat sex offenders, perhaps this guy wanted to atone for his past and wants to help people and that is commendable, like a former addict becoming a drug counselor. But everything was negative.

  9. AvatarTim in WI

    I guess we all got the leadership that was voted for. As for getting in trouble as a registrant I’ve faced FTR felony indictments 7 times beginning in 1998. Each time I demanded a trial and brought facts to the court including the sentencing transcript and the Judgement of conviction ( form – 20) from the qualifying 1992 sex offense. Neither makes reference to the sex offender registry, nor the obligation to register. Those are facts that cast doubt on states claim and are relevant jury fodder.. Commitments to WIDOC all necessarily requires a -20 signed by a judge to be considered lawful, unless otherwise waived by a standard waiver of civil in the original case.

  10. AvatarTim in WI

    Getting in trouble with law enforcement doesn’t necessarily begin with police officers. Most of registrant’s problems emanate from administrative agents. The case lead by Mr. Smith against the firmer prez is in a hearing to determine whether Mr. Smith’s appointment itself ( as special Council) was lawful done. Which reminded me of the last indictment for FTR put on me by WIDOCSOR. The case was in 2018-19. The county judge which approved the summons was on the bench without being elected in the county by election as required by WI law. His residence was in the county to the east and state law requires judges to reside in the same county as they sit bench in. He had maintained his membership to thev State bar association though retired. He was a special appointment because of an illness to another judge who had heart trouble. That meant every case before the bench was lawfully questionable. That indictment was dropped.

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