What sounds like a good law in a twenty-second sound bite sometimes turns out to be less clear when one digs below the surface. Such is the case with International Megan's Law, which President Obama recently signed into law.
If you are a male living in the United States above the age of 12, raise your hand if you have never looked at, possessed or shared a picture of a naked female (or male). If you have, you may be a felon subject to imprisonment and be required to register as a sex offender.
The unmistakable tragedy of children and adults alike being the victims of sexual violence, brought the sex offender registry into being. Unfortunately, this long relied upon tool is an out of control source of abuse of the thousands registered.
On June 15, U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank struck down Minnesota's law allowing for the civil commitment of so-called sexually violent predators. SVP laws allow a person to be locked away indefinitely after he has completed his maximum prison sentence.
In many states, they don't have to share the photo to break the law.
How often do we hear about a high profile case of child sex abuse on cable news? Too often is the correct answer. Next question: how often do we hear about cable news educating the public on how to protect themselves and loved ones against sex abuse? Not often enough is the correct answer.
Preventing sex offender crimes is an important aspect of public safety that I believe every politician takes seriously. Unfortunately, not every politician is a criminologist and as such does not have an evidence-based frame of reference from which to approach this issue.