Society and sex offenders

A sex offender … is a sex offender and in my mind probably always will be, but does that mean he/she should be prevented from earning an honest living?

If so, then I guess a sex offender should be thrown in jail until they die of old age behind bars, which goes against criminal laws as they currently exist.

This past week a convicted molester who had served five years in prison, was a registered sex offender, reportedly had abided by all requirements of reporting his whereabouts to law enforcement, and reportedly had not had any subsequent run-ins with authorities, was the center of controversy surrounding a so-called haunted house he was operating in Marietta.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reportedly had received five complaints about the man owning and operating the facility, which had an “R” rating due to its violent content that was intended for adults, not children.

The deputies investigated the complaints and didn’t find any violations of law in the haunted house’s operation or violations by the man in question. As a result of the deputies’ contact with him, the man volunteered to stay outside the facility to direct traffic, thus not having any contact with those inside the facility, let alone any children who might be permitted by their parents to attend the facility, which had content not intended for them.

When the media reported the man’s involvement in the haunted house, he voluntarily withdrew from its ownership and operation so the haunted house could continue to operate without the adverse publicity of his being involved in it.

If the man had no contact with children and there were no laws being broken by the man or the haunted house, should the public have indirectly forced his withdrawal from the operation and/or ownership?

I don’t know the answer, but it raises the question of if an individual has the right to earn an honest living after serving his time for a violation of law? If a convicted felon does not have such a right, then how is that person going to survive without violating other laws, such as theft, burglary, robbery, drug sales, etc.

It’s a very sticky question and one those much smarter than I am need to ponder.

While I certainly don’t want to be around a known or convicted sex offender, nor have my wife, daughter or grandsons around one, do such ex-felons have a right to live their lives and earn an honest living if they don’t repeat their crime?

Should someone who has not repeated their crime be subjected to public intimidation and be forced to discard their means of making a living?

These are tough questions and issues, but they’re ones as a society we need to think about, discuss and try to reach a sensible conclusion.

No matter how much some people might wish for a one-time sex offender to be thrown in jail forever, that is not a legal option.

So how should society deal with those who have served their time in jail and are back on the street?

Contact Jim Smith at jsmith@newsandsentinelcom