Why does Ohio need to keep the Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification System?
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A 2019 article in The Columbus Dispatch reported that after his conviction for attempted rape in 2011, Brian Golsby was required to participate in a sex-offender treatment program in prison. On Feb. 8, 2017, Golsby abducted, raped and killed a 21-year-old Ohio State University student.
A 2019 article in The Record-Courier reported that John Garvin was sentenced for rape in Summit County juvenile court after an incident in December 2008. Garvin raped an 8-year-old girl between Nov. 1, 2016, and Feb. 16, 2018. He was originally charged with five counts of rape, each a first-degree felony, and five counts of gross sexual imposition, each a third-degree felony, along with one count of failing to register as a sex offender, a first-degree felony. Most of the charges were dropped in a plea deal. Garvin was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 10 years.
A 2019 article in The Times-Reporter conveyed that Noah German, a 20-year-old, was sentenced for three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor. The victims were ages 13, 14, 15. The Assistant county prosecutor said the defendant continued to contact young females even while on pretrial release, which caused the judge to send him back to jail.
A 2019 article in The Tribune Chronicle reported that a convicted 22-year-old sex offender that was released from prison and still on parole was arrested on a similar charge, according to a police report. Marcus D. Hemmingway’s second victim was a 15-year-old girl.
The Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification System (e-SORN) was developed in response to the 1994 passage of Megan’s Law. Following the passage of Megan’s Law, The Jacob Wetterling Act and the Federal Crime Act were passed. These legal additions to existing law require all states to pass a sex offender registration and notification law. To date, all 50 states have sex offender registration laws.
The passage of Senate Bill 5 on July 31, 2003, brought new guidelines for classifying sexual offenders and strengthened the current e-SORN Laws in Ohio. Namely, any person convicted of certain sex offense violations of the Ohio Revised Code or similar laws of another state may be determined by the court to be required to register as a sex offender.
Classifications under the Tier system are based solely on the specific crime the offender was convicted of. Now, sex offenders are classified as: Tier I Offenders, Tier II Offenders, and Tier III Offenders. www.sheriff.franklincountyohio.gov.
Opponents of Sex Offender Registries
The National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is against sex offender registries. “In September of 2016, NARSOL launched a project with the goal of creating dynamic, self-sustaining support groups around the country, specifically for registered citizens and their adult family members and closest friends who are impacted by our draconian sexual offense laws.” www.narsol.org.
What’s the problem with statistics on whether sex offenders re-offend? “Unfortunately, recidivism remains a difficult concept to measure, especially in the context of sex offenders. The surreptitious nature of sex crimes, the fact that few sexual offenses are reported to authorities and variation in the ways researchers calculate recidivism rates all contribute to the problem… Recidivism rates are typically based on officially recorded information, such as an arrest, criminal conviction or incarceration. Because these official statistics reflect only offenses that come to the attention of authorities, they are a diluted measure of reoffending. Research has clearly demonstrated that many sex offenses are never reported to authorities…It is also important to recognize that, once reported to law enforcement, only a subset of sex offenses result in the arrest of the perpetrator… As might be expected, child molesters were more likely than any other type of offender — sexual or nonsexual — to be arrested for a sex crime against a child following release from prison.” www.smart.gov.
Fact: Child sexual abuse is not rare. Retrospective research indicates that as many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. However, because child sexual abuse is by its very nature secretive, many of these cases are never reported. www.nctsn.org.
Ohio needs to keep the Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification System.
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an opinion-editorial columnist. She lives in Scioto County.