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USA FAIR Calls Suffolk County Contract with Parents for Megan’s Law Government-Sanctioned Vigilantism

Shana Rowan of USA FAIR, Inc. call Suffolk County's $3 million sex offender monitoring contract with Parents for Megan's Law "government-sanctioned vigilantism."

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.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Gruber February 16, 2013 at 03:01 AM
And the majority of the time it's someone who has intentionally victimized someone else. I understand there are mislabels, but we still send innocent people to jail, does that mean we stop doing it completely? A simpler answer is to address the mislabels and leave the registry to violent/abusive offenders
Yurmama February 16, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Predators are offenders...and offenders are predators. Shelly, I would like you to use me as evidence. What else would you like to use me as....
John K Massaro February 16, 2013 at 03:07 AM
I started dating my future wife when I was 18 & she 16. I've now been with her for over 20 years. Should I be listed as a sex offender because we might have had some consensual backseat fun back in the day? Should I be "tortured & killed" like Yermama claims I should be? Does that make me a "sexual predator"? No. In fact, it proves that I've been with one & only one woman my entire life. How many people can stake that claim? But that's the biggest problem with this whole "sex offender" classification. The uninformed masses hear "sex offender" & they immediately have this vision of a dark, unshaven scary looking creep prowling around the neighborhood in a beat up van trolling for young kids. It's a stereotype for the uneducated. And as we all know, it's just another reason for the general public to point holier-than-thou fingers & go on self-righteous witch hunts. The "Meghan's Law" as it stands right now, is outdated & obsolete & reforms need to be done as to what is classified as a "sex offender" as opposed to "sexual predator"...
John K Massaro February 16, 2013 at 03:08 AM
I frequently use you as an example of how not to act on a public message board...
Dad of Three February 16, 2013 at 03:28 AM
"What else would you like to use me as...." - Yurmama How about compost?
Yurmama February 16, 2013 at 01:52 PM
I love it how the mob guy feels he needs to teach people how to act on message boards. Even has a lesson plan ready. How self-important are you?
Yurmama February 16, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Sounds like you're threatening me Deadbeatdadof3. Are you?
Darren Gengarelly Sr. February 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM
It's all about the children. Even ignorant ones like Yermama.
Darren Gengarelly Sr. February 16, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Is there a difference between how an offender or a predator have to register? Do they carry the same rules as far as living near a school or playground? Are all the people in the trailers (westhampton) predators and offenders? Are they all marked on the web page that locates convicted offenders/predators. I believe the answer to these questions establishes if there is indeed a difference as far as the law is concerned.
Goin' Commando February 16, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Boy, YourMama, you must be really dumb. Here a guy, Dad of 3, uses obvious humor to deal with your earlier vicious and intolerant and horrible posts, and you go and distort that into a matter of possible intention. I can't wait to see what you will try next.
Shelly Stow February 16, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Excellent, excellent questions, and not so easy to answer. Some state distinguish as far as length of required registration. Others do not, and basically all registration is life-time. Any offense against a child, meaning anyone under the age of consent in many states, carries the most stringent even if the child was the other half of a consensual teenage relationship. Some distinguish with age limits, e.g., a child under 14. While on probation or parole, residency restrictions apply to all equally, and some states do not have residency restriction. They have read the research and know they do not work toward public safety. Individual jurisdictions can apply them, and they do. Even when supervision has ended, a jurisdiction can have restrictions in place, and they will apply to anyone on the registry. Some of these are being challenged on constitutional grounds and are being struck down, but while they are in place, it is "one size fits all." I cannot answer the last two questions. There is no difference in the eyes of the public, prospective employers, or owners of rental property: if one's name is on the registry, be it for a misdemeanor or for the most serious of crimes, the registrant is treated the same. The same is true for law enforcement. The difference there is that some l.e. entities feel all on the registry are scum and do all they can to make their lives miserable, which does not serve public safety. Some l.e. entities are decent and respectful and...human.
John K Massaro February 16, 2013 at 05:11 PM
That's all Yurmama's got - Ignorance & hyperbole.
John K Massaro February 16, 2013 at 05:13 PM
That's all Yurmama's got - Ignorance & hyperbole. He's a troll.
John K Massaro February 16, 2013 at 05:15 PM
The registry is very vague when it comes to explanation of the crime.
Yurmama February 16, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Hey bang bang Massaro, no need to call names and be a bully. That won't help your cause, whatever that is?? Maybe it is to be a bully, so maybe it does help your cause. Remember, if you can't a attack the message, attack the messenger.
Yurmama February 16, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Hey senior, I guess you have a "thing" for ignorant children? They're the best aren't they?
Yurmama February 16, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Goin commando is calling me dumb and here's a guy that chimes in on sexual predator stories with his balls hanging out. Lol. Take a look in the mirror Einstein
John Gruber February 16, 2013 at 06:00 PM
First of all, on her blog Shana Rowan compares African Americans to sex offenders and claims since we used to keep our kids away from African Americans and now we don't, we should do the same for sex offenders. All I can say is "Wow". Her husband was "convicted of sodomizing and inappropriately touching his six year old step-sister". I'm all for doing away of the stupid offenses that can get one on there, but how the hell is he "mislabeled"? Moreover, how can one complain about a teenager sexually abusing a 6 year old girl being registered as a sex offender? Most behavioral scientists will concede that people who engage in this type of behavior at an early age are much more likely repeat or get worse as they grow up. The same SHOULD be done for other criminals, such as murderers, and kids who kill animals as well, and people like someone who abuses a 6 year old is EXACTLY the type of person the registry attempts to protect others from, regardless of the CHANCES of them reoffending . Your husband made a choice. And you made a choice knowing the choices he made, and now you have to live with those choices. That doesn't mean that the people who harass you are justified though, but it's the choices you both have to live with. http://www.wwnytv.com/news/local/Feedback-Woman-Fights-for-Rights-Of-Sex-Offenders--Families-147190125.html
Shelly Stow February 16, 2013 at 07:18 PM
"It is documented that juvenile offending—especially sex offending—is inherently different from that of adults. There is no empirical relationship between juvenile sex crimes and adult sex crimes. Juvenile sex offending does not predict adult sex offending. Over 92% of all individuals who committed a sex offense as a juvenile do not commit another sex offense. Kids tend to mature out of sexual offending behavior and are not likely to commit another sexual offense." http://www.jlc.org/blog/adopting-punitive-sex-offender-law-pennsylvania-takes-giant-step-backward-protecting-children "Human Rights Watch found there is scant justification for ever registering juvenile offenders, even those who have committed serious offenses. Most are likely to outgrow such behavior, particularly given treatment. Recidivism rates for juvenile offenders are extremely low, and few adult offenders ever committed sex crimes as youth." http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/09/11/us-sex-offender-laws-may-do-more-harm-good " 'Children do not go out and hide in the bushes and attack strangers,' said Nicole Pittman of Human Rights Watch. 'It's usually inappropriate behavior, and longitudinal studies that tracked children from the time of their offense to well into their 30s found that less than 2 percent committed another sex crime.' " http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-27/news/ct-met-juvenile-offender-20111227_1_offender-registry-alternative-behavior-treatment-centers-felony-criminal-sexual-abuse
Shana Rowan February 16, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Mr. Gruber: My fiancee was a minor (12) at the time of his offense. Minor children are almost never predatory or pedophilic. He had been suffering physical, emotional and sexual abuse since the age of 6, and his crime was one of acting out, not predatory or sexually motivated. Of course, these are not excuses, and not only was it illegal, but it undoubtedly impacted his victim deeply. He will always feel extreme remorse for his actions, will never repeat them and is doing everything he can to be a contributing member of society and lead a crime-free life. I've told his story multiple times: http://www.iloveasexoffender.blogspot.com/2012/10/he-is-not-monster.html https://www.youtube.com/user/sosupporter http://www.usafair.org/about_shana_rowan Your interpretation of that particular blog post was not my intended message. Should you truly have an interest in speaking with me and learning about what USA FAIR advocates for, feel free to contact me at shana.rowan@usafair.org. I think you'll come to see that we most likely agree on more than it seems.
vera charles February 16, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Dear Miss Mama, what in sam hill are you talking about? I didn't see any part of this story talking about (and avoiding the very distasteful thing you wrote) someone's genitalia "hanging out". Please give your specific reference.
Darren Gengarelly Sr. February 17, 2013 at 01:25 PM
John , though i believe you are sincere. You are a bit exteme as well. " and kids who kill animals as well" That would cover roughly half the kids i grew up with. Shooting squirels was a game when i was young. Should we all be labeled and monitored incase we kill again?? Kids are kids. Adults are the problem.
John Gruber February 17, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Shana, it's tragic your husband was a victim, but as you say, that is still no excuse. I also don't think that we agree on a lot either: 1) Regardless if the offender is any type of victim or not, there comes a time where someone commits a certain type of crime that they forfeit all of their rights and privileges, and, in my opinion, that includes sexually abusing a child, among others. 2) If there isn't a 100% chance that they won't reoffend (and you really can never determine for 100% if they will or not), they shouldn't be given the opportunity to. They have already demonstrated their ability to harm. One more victim is one to many, regardless of the chances 3) It's also tragic that minor misunderstandings can land one on the registry, that needs to change. But as far as the type who intentionally hurt children, no, in my opinion they need to be monitored for the rest of their life, if not locked up, because one more victim, especially a child, is not worth the risk. 3) This isn't just for child abusers. This goes for rapists, murderers, molesters, spouse abusers etc. It's a joke the amount of people we let out who continue to prey on the weak. Maybe if we weren't constantly releasing these type of offenders, people will start to see you will be punished severely.
John Gruber February 17, 2013 at 04:23 PM
I understand my opinions may be extreme, but these are extreme crimes and that's the only way I see of protecting the innocent. There's a big difference between shooting squirrels and hunting versus killing cats and dogs as a "game". So not, not EVERYONE, just like not EVERY sex offender belongs on the list. Most do, some don't.
John Gruber February 17, 2013 at 04:33 PM
A) well than, at least you get to ignore that almost 10% that DO B) Slapping a girl on the butt is inappropriate behavior. "sodomizing" a 6 year old girl is not "inappropriate behavior". It's molestation. C) You're willing to put more people at risk, I'm not. If I'm wrong, someone who molested a child was watched closely for the rest of his life and never committed a another crime. You claim we let to many children get abused as it is, and If you're wrong about the offender, like you are 8% of the time, that's one more person we let get attacked. Not worth the risk. I'd rather someone who sexually attacked anyone be closely watched for the rest of their life than risk putting someone else at risk, just so the criminal can be comfortable
John K Massaro February 17, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Why do they still let you post here?
Treborjo February 17, 2013 at 11:17 PM
The problem is that the registry lumps all offenders into the same group of child molester/rapist, the tier system is charge based not re-offend risk based. So the teen who had sex and the child rapist are looked upon by society as the same threat. We all want to protect our children but how does a registry that is so watered down do that? It doesn't! How does inducing homelessness, joblessness, poverty, hate crimes, and the shamming and bullying of the children of offenders and their families help anyone? It doesn't. The sex crime rates are nearly the same now as they were before the registry. If your a good parent and watch your children and who is involved in their lives and teach them about the dangers that are everywhere in life, explain that not all people are good people, and where it is that nobody should ever touch you and to not go with strangers no matter what, then it don't matter who lives where. There is a sex offender who lives three houses down from mine, the registry said he was convicted of indecent assault and that is all it say's. I don't know what he did,and if he didn't live there I would still teach my kids. I'm more worried about them getting hit by a car or hooked on drugs than being molested by some guy down the street. Sex offenders have the lowest re-offense rate than any other criminal except murderers. Sure I made them aware of him living there, but I also made them aware of the potential threat of all the other people in the neighborhood.
Darren Gengarelly Sr. February 18, 2013 at 12:38 AM
If a twelve year old murders a six year old but does not sexually contact her in any way does he have to register as a violent criminal? No , once his sentence is complete he is 100% free. Murder with no other recourse other than serving a sentence. Yet a kid "mooning" someone has to register for life? The system is broke. Knee jerk over-reactions over minor incidents has been the norm for some time now. Ridiculous as it is. This is what we as a society are into. Accountability takes a back seat to manipulation.
Valerie Parkhurst March 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM
To stand back and read the various post one can sure decipher the "agendas" going on here. Shana attempts to distance herself from NAMBLA at every turn but its difficult to do that considering the players involved. Many posters (pro-Shana) also go out of their way to quote stats from a self serving agency (DOJ) "fast and furious" who put out numbers based on the amount of money that agency wants to spend on the problem. I personally dont put much stock or confidence in the DOJ or the people they use as researchers. What I do observe is the horrendous daily headlines around the country profiling sexual abuse. But of course the Pro-Shana posters dont even bother to log in on those stories. No ,this motley crew only expend any energy on articles that threaten to tighten or to relax the leash around their necks. Then like clockwork its the common mantra of "we all peed on a bush, or had consentual sex with willing girlfriends and as predicted the over-used "mooning" example. What Shana and her cheerleaders NEVER mention is the horrendous accounts of abuse that happen everyday in this country and if they do mention it, its the punchline "well, its rare and these people need punishment". Also what Shana fails to mention is the majority of her members have crimes under their belts that would set the public's hair on fire. Shana wants the registry abolished due to the fact her members can never petition off the registry their crimes were so heinous. Thats her agenda.
Non Citizen April 09, 2013 at 05:46 PM
People who are listed on these nanny, big government Registries (CRHHs) are at war with the terrorists who support the Registries. The terrorists work to lower the quality of CRHHs, their spouses', and their children's lives, so CRHHs should do anything legal to retaliate against the terrorists and do the same to them. CRHHs: The Registries are unacceptable - don't just ensure that they are worthless, ensure that they are counterproductive. If the Registries were actually about public safety, protecting children, or any of those other lies, then many, many other types of Registries would have been created well before the year 2000. But they weren't. Intelligent, informed Americans have never support the Registries.

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