On December 10, 2007, I self-surrendered to FCI Seagoville, a low-security federal prison outside of Dallas. To this day, I have dreams about my time in Seagoville and the traumatic personal situations I had to endure. Ironically, it wasn’t so much the sex offense charge that caused me issues.
On August 27, 2005, two registered sex offenders were murdered in Bellingham, Washington by a vigilante posing as an FBI agent. Victor Vazquez, 68, and Hank Eisses, 49, were shot dead from single gunshot wounds to the head. The killer, Michael Anthony Mullen, got the victims’ names, addresses, and photographs from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s sex offender notification website.
Join me for this special on-location podcast episode from Bellingham, WA. I view the house on Northwest Avenue where the murders took place and walk through the middle-class neighborhood. I also discuss Mullen’s case and provide a few tips on how you can protect yourself from vigilantism.
Sex Offender Stigma: An Exploration of Vigilantism against Sex Offenders
In today’s interview, meet Melissa McFadden. Her son, Tony, is currently incarcerated for a sex offense he did not commit. Today, Melissa helps people on the sex offense registry find housing and is the President of Reset Missouri.
In the study conducted by Federal Probation, A Journal of Correctional Philosophy and Practice, of the property managers and owners surveyed, 67% indicated that they inquire about criminal history on rental applications. In addition, 85.6% of property managers stated they would not rent to people with felony sex offense convictions.
A recent study (California Department of Mental Health tried to suppress the data) showed just 6.5% of untreated sexually violent predators were arrested for a new sex crime within 4.8 years of release from a locked mental facility. Even with this data, civil commitment facilities still exist. Minnesota is one of 20 states across the nation that has a civil commitment program for former sex offenders.
I have a special guest that you’ll meet here in just a few minutes. His name is Jeremy and he’s on the sex offense registry for a 2013 conviction. Last month, he was negatively portrayed on Fox 13 news in Utah for going onto school property. His daughters go to Bear River High School in Tremonton. Jeremy was blasted on the news for helping build props for an upcoming school play. Though he had a supervisor with him, either his wife or the drama teacher, there was uproar in the small, conservative community.
Here to tell his side of the story, and how the negative attention has affected his children and family, is Jeremy Rose.
Has the media created a national moral panic on sex crimes and cyber pedophilia? In this brief podcast episode, I read from the report, “Sex Crimes in the Media” (Tanya Serisier, School of Sociology) and the media representations of child sexual abuse.
“The dominant media image of the rapist is a marginal male driven by sexual desire; a dangerous stranger lurking in the bushes (Jewkes, 2015). Entertainment media especially reproduce the psychotic stranger stereotype, with high numbers of violent or homicidal serial rapists featured in genres such as television crime shows (Horeck,2004). This imagery is in stark contrast to the statistical reality that rape is most commonly committed by “normal” men from the same social sphere as, and usually known to, their victims.” – Sex Crimes in the Media (2017)
READ FULL REPORT
Once again, people living on the sex offender registry are treated like modern-day lepers, and this time it’s at your local church. With law enforcement estimates that 88% of sexual abuse is never reported to authorities, nine of ten people who have sexually abused children will NOT have a criminal background nor be on the sex offender registry. Churches do not need to fear the sex offender or the new person sitting in the back pew. People required to register have the right to worship just like any individual in the United States. This right is protected by our constitution.
Instead of churches banning people required to register, pastors and church leaders need to work on ministering rather than treating people like modern-day lepers. By doing this, we’ll have happier and safer congregations.
Report: Child Sexual Abuse in Protestant Christian Congregations
“Soul Murder”, a phrase coined by Dr. James Gilligan, professor of psychology and law at NYU, can be used to describe incarceration. In other words, the trauma of prison can destroy someone’s personality and their sense of being alive. This negative effect on someone’s life can also be described as Post-Incarceration Syndrome.
How does one move past trauma from being incarcerated? What about the trauma from being on the sex offender registry? This podcast episode offers a few tips on how to move past trauma and regain your sense of worth.
“A trauma can be defined as any significant negative event or incident that shaped us. It can emerge from any impactful instance that made us feel bad, scared, hurt, or ashamed. By this definition, we have all experienced some degree of trauma in the process of growing up.” – Trauma expert, Dr. Peter Levine.
There are at least four cities in the United States that have passed fair chance housing legislation: Portland, Seattle, Oakland, and Richmond. In addition, other cities have a variation of fair chance housing policies: Urbana, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; San Francisco, California; Newark, New Jersey and growing numbers of other jurisdictions.
Are these fair chance housing ordinances actually fair for people living on the sex offender registry? In this podcast episode, I take a look at these ordinances and how they affect registrants and their families. With a high number of homeless sex offenders, fair chance housing is important now than ever.
Seattle Fair Chance Housing FAQ
Oakland Fair Chance Housing FAQ
Fair Chance Housing Website