Is the Sex Offender Registry Flawed?

   By drodriguez  Nov 06, 2009

Since its inception in the mid 1990's the sex offender registry has allowed anyone with access to the internet to make themselves aware of all of the local sex offenders lurking in the neighborhood For some, this came as a welcome tool to keep their families safe from predators and possibly even choose where they should purchase their home.  But a recent article from USA Today points out some possible flaws with the registry and how it could potentially ruin lives.

One example of the way the sex offender registry has failed is in the case of a Michigan man, Robert Dipiazza, who at the age of 18 had consensual sex with his almost 15-year-old girlfriend and was placed on the sex offender registry.  The Detroit Free Press reports that the couple's relationship was exposed when a teacher found a provocative photograph of them and brought it to the attention of the authorities. Dipiazza has since married his then girlfriend and has reported that it has become impossible for him to get or hold down a job with his name on the registry. 

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals recently made a unanimous decision to remove Dipiazza's name from the Michigan sex offender registry calling his punishment "constitutionally cruel and unusual."  Though Dipiazza's case was a victory many argue that there are too many similar cases like this that continue to be unresolved.  Attorney, Erika Julien, is quoted in the Detroit Free Press as saying, "There are lots and lots of these cases out there."  Julien also describes Dipiazza's court ruling as "a huge step forward...opening the door to a re-examination of these kinds of cases across the board." 

What do you think of the sex offender registry?

Do you think it is a helpful tool or do you think it is too flawed to work correctly?

Make a Comment

whslibrarian by whslibrarian | Chesapeake, VA
Nov 29, 2009

I work at a high school. Girls and boys of this age group are sexually active. A parent of a sixteen year old who chooses to be sexually active could ruin the life of another student if they were upset that she had choosen to have sex. I have a neighbor on the register for sodomy. I don't know the details but found out when someone printed out where he is an offender and placed in the mailboxes. A teenager does not have to face this for the rest of his life - if it was concensual and not a rape.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Nov 25, 2009

It is obvious that what many of the newspapers and other media report are largely anecdotal. The fact is, we need to draw the line somewhere, and the law can make exceptions when they are warranted. Such was the case with Dipiazza. And such should be the case with similar young people. However, there are far too many sexual offenders and predators out there. Whether they are 17 or 57, if they prey on children, they should be exposed for what they are. It is certainly not too harsh for a 16 or 17 year old if his victim is a small child! We cannot let up on this. They don't deserve freedom or privacy and must remain under public scrutiny for the safety of our children!

nicolen by nicolen | Lee Summit, MO
Nov 23, 2009

as far as the registry keeping him from employment0he would never be able to have a job in the education field and he will never be able to go on a school field trip with his child.

Girlbaby423 by Girlbaby423 | CANTON, MI
Nov 20, 2009

Honestly, I use it but I end up reading all the information on the person/s that are on it. It is helpful but at the same time there are a lot of flaws that do go along with the case mention in the post. I can understand be upset as a parent when finding out your child is having sex & having sex with someone older the then him/her but going as far as putting them on the list is a bit much. I believe that the registry should be for rapist & other sexual offense that are not under age. I can't put the words down exactly what I am saying but I think you understand where I come from. The registry helps but it needs to be fixed.. If the court system is going to add underage kids to it then they need to quote that it was underage not just a sexually issues from this age to this age or however it's worded.

pschutt by pschutt | Weidman, MI
Nov 17, 2009

I agree that it has flaws.... My father who is a known sex offender was not on the registry because his case was opened before the registry began... however I do not think that a teen should be placed on this list for a "mis-hap" with a younger lady or young man. I would love to see alot of these cases re evaluated and some of these youngsters taken off of it. Did you know that even a 17 year old boy on this list will have to register until he is in his 50's? Just a bit harsh for just 17.

epiphanymia by epiphanymia | Billings, MT
Nov 16, 2009

I think it is completely different when it is an eighteen year old boy having sex with his consenting girlfriend than it is for someone in their twenties or beyond taking advantage of someone they are in a position of authority over. It is also a different situation when someone is cited for public urination than it is for deliberate exposure. The system is indeed flawed, and the loopholes need to be closed.

countrycouponclipper by countrycouponclipper | Supply, NC
Nov 15, 2009

I know a sex offender the system is flawed he shouldnt even be on the list it isnt fair some people should be in jail or under the jail for what they do, but they need to change the law for ppl that are not high risk

rolliepollie by rolliepollie | NEWPORT, TN
Nov 12, 2009

This is definately a helpful tool and I use it all the time. But the sad reality is that less than half of the sex offenders are actually registered. The chief deputy in my county told me that only about 1/4 of the offenders in our county were registered. If he knows this then why don't they do somthing about it. Maybe they could keep some perv from having another victim. People should type their own address in and search for offenders living around them. It will most likely surprise you at how many live within a 2 mile radius of your home.

monica74 by monica74 | RNCHO CORDOVA, CA
Nov 12, 2009

I think it's flawed, I lived in a small town, and one of the registered sex offenders lived across the street from the elementary school!!

AimeeAken by AimeeAken | Omaha, NE
Nov 12, 2009

It is a great tool for a general guideline, but in a situation like this it is very flawed. I mean I dated a guy that was 20 when I was 16 and he was totally harmless. I did not have sex with him but if we had, that would not be anything that should come up in his future or mine. Even my parents gave consent for me to date the guy.. there is a fine line that needs to be looked at on how extreme a matter is. I have not really checked this out fully, but does it list the exact reason they are on the registry? Again, it is a helpful tool, as long as it is accurate. If it is a minor act as stated above, it should not have any impact on someone obtaining a job, etc. As long as it lists exactly what they have done. Minor acts like that should be dropped after so long as well imo.

angelbaby053099 by angelbaby053099 | bayonne, NJ
Nov 12, 2009

I definitely a helpful tool... but there are no doubt flaws. If a person (lets say a drunk) was urinating in public... and there was a child within 50 feet of where he was urinating. He wasn't only urinating in public... now by law... he was expposing himself to a minor, making him a "pedophile" on the sex offenders list. Same thing with highschool kids mooning... ext ext. The system should be for rapists, assaults, and others like them.

jenanne by jenanne | Sterrett, AL
Nov 11, 2009

While everything does have flaws, I also think that it is worth some flaws to make sure our children are safe. We cannot have a perfect system so we just have to determine the best for what we are dealing with and in this case it is our children's safety.

gail65 by gail65 | Windsor Mill , MD
Nov 11, 2009

I think it is a great tool. If someone is on there because of a relationship with a minor, maybe they will learn the lesson that it is wrong. If it is causing them trouble getting a job, they can have the (now) woman explain the relationship, and maybe that would help. I just think it is something we need in this day and age, to be able to be aware of who is living in our neighborhoods.

cycoswmn by cycoswmn | GAYLORD, MI
Nov 11, 2009

The appeals process should be simplified so it's less intimidating and doesn't require a lawyer. Yes, it's flawed and needs levels of risk attached to the registry.

anniebeloved1 by anniebeloved1 | muskegon, MI
Nov 10, 2009

I think that it is flawed.....there are 5 sex offenders by the local school here