USA FAIR, Inc., a national organization founded by family members of former sex offenders, today strongly opposed the proposed contract between Suffolk County, New York and Parents for Megan’s Law, a not-for-profit private organization, to provide monitoring of people required to register with the sex offender registry.
Under the contract, Parents for Megan’s Law would be responsible for monitoring registrants in what Suffolk Police chief James Burke called "the toughest monitoring and enforcement program in the nation" for dealing with the county's more than 1,000 registered sex offenders. The organization would be paid $2.7 million over 3 years.
“Suffolk County has every right to implement as tough a program as its legislators desire, so long as it is permissible by law. However, the monitoring of sex offenders has traditionally been a law enforcement function throughout the country. To outsource this important task to a private organization with a history of demonizing the very people they are contracted to monitor is unprecedented and unwise. It amounts to government-sanctioned vigilantism,” said USA FAIR Executive Director Shana Rowan.
According to Rowan, “Parents for Megan’s Law and its Executive Director, Laura Ahearn, have promoted the myth of high sex offender recidivism, a falsehood that is contradicted by every major study, including a landmark study by the U.S. Department of Justice that found that sex offenders actually have one of the lowest re-offense rates of any offender group in the criminal justice system.”
“Laura Ahearn has shown herself to be a strident ideologue on sex offender issues, not open to a dialog with the former offender community and their family members. USA FAIR has repeatedly tried to get her to take down misleading statistics form her organization’s website and she has failed to even respond to our requests. Our only conclusion is that the “big lie” of high recidivism serves her agenda and her finances.”
USA FAIR raised particular objections to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s (I-Montauk) desire to see this $2.7 million contract hastily approved today by circumventing the normal committee process, which Rowan called a “rush to judgment without due diligence that will undoubtedly lead to unintended consequences and future lawsuits.”
Rowan concluded, “Law enforcement should be performed by objective and well trained professionals - not issue advocacy ideologues.”