If you took a look at the news Monday everyone was all the rage about sex offenders and the fact there are numerous inaccuracies on registries across the state. With all due respect to the outrage of the day, if you as individual are really concerned about protecting your children from sexual predators, as I have said before, don’t look on the registry, look in your photo album.
Contrary to popular opinion most sex offenders and their victims are not strangers. According to the U.S. Justice Department it is a blatant myth that most sexual assaults are committed by strangers. The Department found that nearly 60 percent of boys and 80 percent of girls who are sexually victimized are done so by someone known to the child or the child’s family. So if your child is going to come into contact with a sex offender it will probably be a relative, family friend, babysitter, local religious figure, teacher or someone in a position of authority over the child or someone who supervises the child. Forget the stranger with candy and the raincoat. If that’s not enough, here are some other fun little facts.
Most sex offenders are not caught, convicted and in prison. Only a fraction of those who commit sexual assault are caught and convicted. In addition, up to half of all cases of child molestation are committed by other adolescents between the ages of 13 to 17. There are some more stats I could throw at you, but I figure I’ve scared you enough.
If the citizens of Indiana want to protect their children from child predators, they may want to start by doing a check of the people around them. Like the data says, it’s probably not the guy down the street who’s more likely to molest your child, but like vampires, it’s the one you’ve already let into your home.
(The sad part of this is that I wrote most of this column five years ago, and not much has changed.)