A two part book telling both the story of one man overcoming the odds placed against him due to sex offender laws and a dissertation of the fallacies and negative consequences associated with current sex offende legislation.
Once Fallen website
Once Fallen book page
Once Fallen is a two part book giving both an eyewitness account and expert testimony of the negative consequences of the current direction of sex offender legislation. Current sex offender laws focus on retribution against Former Sex Offenders while neglecting the rehabilitation of registrants, and completely ignoring tried-and-true prevention and education measures that would greatly reduce criminal sexual behavior. Current sex offender legislation create barriers to the successful reintegration of individuals who have served out their sentences. In addition, these laws help propagate the myriad of myths and lies we believe about sex crimes and those who commit them.
Once Fallen follows the seven year journey of one man to overcome his past and live as a productive member of society. The law, an unforgiving society, and internal struggles stand in the way of a reformed life. The first half of this book chronicles this man's struggle for forgiveness in a society, overcoming insurmountable odds to atone for the sins of the past while offering hope for those facing similar personal mistakes.
The Second part of Once Fallen is the fruit of nearly a decade of research on the impact of sex offender laws. Sex offender legislation is very popular, yet have come with disastrous consequences for both the registrants living under the laws and the society that desires them. The laws have been proven largely ineffective while merely reinforcing stereotypes and myths about sex offenders. Vigilantism, social ostracism, and denial of basic needs are just a few of the negative consequences of the laws on the individual registrant. Such negative consequence give ample incentive to disobey these laws, as they ultimately punish mostly those who are rehabilitated and have no desire to recidivate.
The social consequences of these laws include failing to address the greater number of sex crimes which are committed by non-registrants, the dilution of the registries as a result of predator panic, and the perpetuating of a fear-based culture. This fear has led to hypersensitivity to sex crimes to the point laws intended for the "worst of the worst" are used against even non-sex crimes or behaviors once merely frowned upon, such as consensual teen sex. We have given up large amounts of personal and constitutional freedoms, and laws created against sex offenders are expanding into other criminal behavior, with the potential risk of punishing people based upon perceived risk alone.
Once Fallen gives you the truth behind the sex offender legislation and industry, giving you the facts you may not want to hear, but NEED to hear. As with many social panics in our society, there is money to be made in the sex offender industry, with billions of dollars at stake, leaving no desire from mass media, celebrity advocates, and legislators to tell the public
the truth behind this ill-fated legislation.
Once Fallen offers a rational solution to a problem riddled with well-intentioned but failed legislation. The solution requires
we think outside the box and approach the subject with an open mind.
Written by Derek Logue, advocate, webmaster at www.oncefallen.com, a critically acclaimed factual information site on sex offender topics and issues.
From Chapter 10 [references included; please note references are moved to the biblography in the working copy]
Sexual Responsibility a “Hard Sell”
Chief researcher Dr. David Finkelhor emphasizes the need for educating our children about proper sexual behavior, especially in the online era. His concern is that he found most dangerous was the teenagers were willing to talk about sex online with complete strangers, and going to sex chat rooms and websites (“kind of behaving in what we call like an internet daredevil”). His conclusion is similar to mine- educating about the consequences of inappropriate sexual behavior (Dr. David Finkelhor, Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, 20070503youth, www.escriptionist.com, p. 4-5)
“So for example, we have to educate them about why hooking up with a 32-year-old guy has major drawbacks like jail, bad press, public embarrassment. We have to educate them about the ploys that people they’re going to meet online might us to gain their trust. We have to talk to them about why they should be discouraging rather than patronizing sites and people who are doing offensive things online, fascinating as that may seem to them” (ibid., p. 5).
Hopefully by now, after reading my story and seeing how easily even a juvenile can be branded a sex offender, you will understand why I think it is imperative we teach our children proper sexual behavior long before they become adults. But as Dr. Finkelhor put it, “…unfortunately, these aren’t easy sells” (ibid.). Part of the main reason why is the “taboo” stigma surrounding sex talk in general, but in using the word “sexual responsibility” some people come to the conclusion we are somehow blaming the victim or removing the concept of accountability and responsibility on the part of the perpetrator. This is simply untrue.
I remembered a discussion I had on www.sexcriminals.com regarding dress codes, which led to some pretty heated arguments. A recent fashion trend involved tight pants with provocative expressions like “Booty-licious” emblazoned on the buttocks. Immediately I was criticized for bringing it up because somehow the women on the forum assumed I was implying people who wore such things were “asking to be sexually assaulted.” That wasn’t the point I was trying to make. However, I did not believe children should be allowed to wear clothing designed to warrant attention to a sexual part of their bodies.
I believe the aversion is a result of our belief in freedom; simply put, we want freedom to do whatever we want. However, freedom comes with great responsibility. While it is no less wrong for a criminal to rob a man with a hundred dollar bill strapped to his chest than if he hid it in his shoe, but common sense would tell us strapping a hundred dollar bill to your chest is rather irresponsible. Society stresses vigilance, yet when anyone suggests an act of vigilance that involves a small personal sacrifice, society rebels against the notion. On the other hand, there has been a trend towards “hyper vigilance.”
A prime example of hyper vigilance was a controversial ad campaign for the Virginia Department of Health’s sex abuse hotline. The ad featured a photo of a man holding a little girl’s hand and the caption, “It doesn’t feel right when I see them together.” Hundreds of men complained because the ad implied every time you see a father out with his child, he is likely a sexual predator. The Virginia Department of Health defended the ads, stating that men are more likely than women to sexually abuse children. The same article reminds us John Walsh had suggested never hire a male babysitter (Jeff Zaslow, “Moving On: Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Fearful of Men?” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2007).
Predator panic has diverted us from feasible preventive measures, focusing on released sex offenders and now men in general. Patty Wetterling of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (and mother of the missing child which led to the first sex offender registry in America) has advocated spending more money on programs working with abused youth and prevent troubled youth from committing the crimes on the first place. Wetterling found the same results as noted in the Sample and Kadleck study, namely, legislators were unwilling to read reports and had little knowledge of the nature of sex crimes. Many legislators have even stated, “don’t confuse me with the facts” (Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio, “A better approach to sex offender policy, June 18, 2007, http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/06/11/sexoffender1/).
In short, society chooses to hold fast to their preconceived notions about the origins of sex crimes, while largely ignoring those external root causes we as a society can intervene in and address. This is significant when you consider the fact that 86% of inmates in prison for committing sex crimes are first time offenders (US Dept. of Justice, “Sex Inmates In Prison,” 1997). At the least, sex offender laws have done nothing to address the six of every seven sex offender inmates who are serving a prison sentence for the first time. When you consider the fact repeat offenders are more likely to be incarcerated than first time offenders, it is safe to say we are underestimating the amount of sex crimes committed by first time offenders. Our narrow focus on sex offenders has led to neglect the vast majority of sex crimes occurring in our society!
To summarize, I believe any strategy to reduce sex crimes should have prevention as its foundation. While deviant sexual behavior is a product of varying degrees of internal nature and external factors, our contrary culture has emphasized the internal factors while simultaneously propagating external factors which increases the likelihood of deviant sexual behavior. Prevention should start with teaching sexual responsibility with the same dedication that we teach in operating motor vehicles or other things that can cause harm when misused or abused. Sadly, since we have neglected to teach responsible sexual behavior for whatever reason, whether through neglect or an attempt to “shelter“ children from the world, mass media has filled the void, reinforcing faulty beliefs through innuendo while reducing inhibitions toward responsible sexual behavior. Teaching children sexual responsibility is easier and superior to a futile attempt at environmental censorship; however, our negative attitude toward even suggesting the teaching of sexual responsibility constitutes a barrier to prevention. Only by subverting the current views and trends in our current culture can we have any real hope of reducing and preventing sex crimes in America.