Sex Offending Facts

Commonly Used Terms - click title to expand

[EXPAND Child Molester]The child molester is most often someone who is sexually attracted to adults, but may molest a young family member in a maladaptive attempt at meeting emotional needs. Many adults who molest a child they know were also abused as children, but could not or did not seek treatment. Thus they never addressed problems such as severe anger, lack of empathy, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy. Especially if treated, incestuous offenders are much less likely to commit a new sex crime.[/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Juvenile Offender]A growing number of offenders are actually children themselves. The most common ways for youths to wind up on the registry are "Romeo and Juliet" relationships, "sexting," on phones or on social networking sites, or childish experimentation. Juveniles are highly responsive to treatment, and rarely re-offend as adults.[/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Pedophile]Pedophiles are adults who are sexually attracted to prepubescent children. With therapy and behavioral management training, many pedophiles can successfully control their behavior, just as alcoholics can successfully stop drinking. True pedophilia is a relatively rare condition. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Predator]Predators are persons who capture and sexually abuse children, usually outside of their family. These offenders often place themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters that they do not know. Predators are usually not pedophiles, but instead enjoy inflicting pain, and have the highest recidivism rate (17%). Abductions by child predators are relatively rare, and less than 1% of sex crimes involve murder. [/EXPAND]

[EXPAND Pervert]"a person whose sexual behavior is considered strange and unpleasant by most people" (Cambridge Dictionary) [/EXPAND]

Facts about Sex Offenders

1. Not all sex  offenders are the same. Yet the media and politicians constantly use words like pedophile,  pervert and predator to describe all sex offenders.

2. Not everyone on the registry  has committed a sexual crime. Streaking and public urination are both crimes  that are admissible on the registry. One man found himself on the registry for  grabbing a girl's arm to lecture her when she stepped out in front of his moving  car! ("Man grabs girl's arm "now he's a sex offender." World Net Daily,  7/2/2005)

3. Plea agreements  account for 95% of felony convictions. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and  judges often press defendants into pleading guilty to a lesser offense to avoid  jail, end a costly lawsuit, or support their families. As a result, people who  might, in fact, be innocent of a sexual crime, will often plead guilty to the  charge. (U.S. Sentencing Commission?s 2009 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing  Statistics, Table C)

4. The U.S. Department of  Justice states the 3-year recidivism rate for sex offenders (rape or sexual  assault) is only 5.3%. (Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in  1994, Bureau ofJusticeStatistics,2003)(

5. Treatment can reduce  sexual recidivism over a 5 year period by 5 - 8%. This may seem small, but  consider this: There were about 210,000 rapes and sexual assaults in 2004. If  only 100,000 of the perpetrators had undergone treatment, this could have been  reduced by 5,000 to 8,000. "Thus, relatively small reductions in sexual  recidivism rates can have a notable impact on the number of victims, even if the  reduction in sexual recidivism is not "statistically significant." (Prentky, R. & Schwartz, B. (December, 2006). Treatment of Adult Sex Offenders.  Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource  Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against  Domestic Violence.)

6. Future recidivism risk  can be reliably assessed using validated risk assessments and diagnostic tools.  Thus only those who continue to be assessed as high risk need to be closely  monitored more than a few years.

7. Support systems help  to reduce recidivism. Former offenders need a stable home and work environment.  This is something their families need also. Anything keeping them from support  systems and accountability networks can be harmful.  (USDOJ)

8. Re-offense rate  averages: for auto theft 78.8%, possession/sale of stolen property 77.4%,  burglary 74.0%, armed robbery 70.2%, larceny 74.6%, sex offenses 3.5%.   (Bureau of Justice Statistics )

9. Online stalking and  abduction are very rare. Adults pretending to be teens account for only 3% of  internet crime, and most child victims meet expecting to have sex. ( )

Facts  about Public  Registration

1. 93% of sex offenses  are committed by someone not on the registry. (USDOJ) Thus you could say the  registry is at least 93% ineffective.

2. 90% of sex offenses  against children under age 12 are committed by someone the child knows (and  almost half of these offenders are a family member). In cases of sexual assault  against ages 12 and older, 80% know the offender. (

3. Public registration  requirements are creating a false sense of security. Law Enforcement resources  have been stretched to the point where the small percentage of high-risk  offenders cannot be adequately monitored.

4. The cost of  maintaining the registry and the myriad other ineffective laws targeting former  sex offenders reaches hundreds of millions of dollars each year  (USDOJ).

5. "Megan's Law  ineffective, study says." Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 2009. "... there is  little evidence, despite the popularity of the sex-offender notification laws,  that they are effective... Recent studies on sexual offender notification laws  in New York and Arkansas reached similar conclusions."

Children Who Are Sex  Offenders

1. More than a third of  all child molestation is committed by children themselves. The U.S. Department  of Justice finds the age with the greatest number of offenders is 14.6 years old  ("Juveniles Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Minors" Finkelhor, Ormrod, and  Chaffin. OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin, December, 2009. Would you want your child to end up on a public registry?

2. A 2007 review of a  longitudinal data set of three cohorts of youth in Wisconsin found that of men  who had contact with police for a sex offense as youth, only 8.5 percent had  contact with police for a sex offense as adults.(Franklin E. Zimring, et al.,  Sexual Delinquency in Racine: Does Early Sex Offending Predict Later Sex  Offending in Youth and Young Adulthood", 6 Criminology & Pub. Pol"y 507-534  (2007))

3. Our justice system  applies a double standard: A child is considered someone under the age of  consent, unless they are being prosecuted (Franklin E. Zimring. An American  Travesty: Legal Responses to Adolescent Sexual Offending. Adolescent Development  and Legal Policy Monograph Series. 2004)

Other  Important  Facts

1. Statistics show here  is no rise in sex crimes during Halloween; kids are more likely to get hit by a  car ( ).

2. Longer  punishment-driven sentencing has not been proven to reduce recidivism; however  the cost to house these prisoners is tremendous, at an estimated $20-25,000 per  year per inmate (USDOJ).

3. Laws passed and  enforced after a person's conviction (ex post facto) are unconstitutional on  both the federal and state levels.

4. Recent, reliable  studies indicate that only a miniscule .013% of child pornography offenders are  actually at risk to commit contact sexual offenses involving other children.  (Michael Seto and Angela W Eke, "The Criminal Histories and Later Offending of  Child Pornography Offenders", 17 Sexual Abuse: J Res. & Treatment  2005).

5. Registry  restrictions have not been proven effective at preventing child sexual abuse by registered sex  offenders. In fact, by destabilizing this group, the restrictions are more likely  to cause harm than to prevent it.