One of my pet issues is false memories, and how easy it is to plant them in children. We saw this play out in the infamous McMartin Preschool Trial, where several innocent people were convicted on the word of preschoolers who had been manipulated into accusing them of sexual abuse. The Guardian has an article that just came out to a couple days ago, called Social recall: factors that can affect false memory.
I mentioned in this article that the sex offender registry would eventually by used as a basis for creating all kinds of criminal registries. My state of Tennessee now has an animal abuser registry, for example, and was the first state to create one but will certainly not be the last. I said of this, “Will it stop there? I wonder.” Well, guess what? Utah just created a registry for white collar criminals. You can read about in The Atlantic. The article is called Why Is Utah the First State to Have a White-Collar Crime Registry? Interesting piece, and I’ll bet this will not be the last of its kind.
I am feeling hopeful for minors on the Sex Offender Registry these days. Things seem to be turning in favor removing them from the registry, especially very young “offenders” who never should’ve been placed on it to begin with. The Lincoln Journal Star’s editorial board a couple days ago published a piece on a thirteen-year-old boy whose Nebraska-based family filed a lawsuit on behalf of the boy, who was only eleven when he was charged and convicted of a sex offense, for which he was forced to register as a sex offender. The family won their lawsuit, and the editorial staff approves.
Yesterday Sarah Morehead made a guest post on the Friendly Atheist site, called Sex Offenders Can Be Nice Guys: How Making Jared Fogle a Monster Encourages Abusers. In the article, which is a plea for sane treatment of sex offenders by society, she says:
Cheering the abuse of sex offenders may feel good in the moment — it’s the only thing we feel like we can do in the face of feeling utterly helpless — but it dehumanizes offenders into monsters deserving of violence, which (albeit unintentionally) creates a perfect scenario for future sex offenders to pluck future victims. After all, if offenders act like “nice guys,” they won’t risk being seen as “monsters” like priests, or Jared Fogle, or Jerry Sandusky, and their victims (and their families) will be summarily dismissed and disbelieved.
I think she makes a very good point. The article is not an easy read, but it’s well worth reading.
It warms my heart to see the psychological community finally addressing pedophilia as it should have all along: as a psychological problem deserving of sympathy rather than as a social taboo deserving of shame and stigmatization. All I can say is, it’s about dang time. And here is another good article from the preeminent publication on mental issues, Psychology Today. Written by Dr. Robert T. Muller, it’s called Non-Offending Pedophiles Suffer from Isolation. It mentions the German program Prevention Project Dunkelfeld, which should serve as a model for other such programs, and quotes the wonderful Elizabeth Letourneau.
VICE has been on a roll over the last few months when it comes to fair-minded pieces on pedophilia. Well, here’s another one: I Asked a Leading Expert on Paedophilia to Explain My Former Headmaster, written by Charlie Braithwaite. My friend Ethan Edwards (co-founder of Virtuous Pedophiles) was interviewed for it, as was the esteemed Dr. James Cantor.
I just finished reading this incredible article written by Sarah Stillman and published in The New Yorker called The List: When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence. It’s quite long, but it’s an emotional roller coaster. I highly recommend it.