Viewpoint: Sex offenders need stronger punishments

By David Trower

A couple months ago, more than 100 people convened in Los Angeles for the Fifth Annual National Reform Sex Offender Laws conference, “Justice for All.” The purpose of the conference is to shed light and try to bring about reform of national and state sex offender laws that they claim deny the civil rights of more than 750,000 sex offenders.

I find this to be offensive. These laws exist for a reason and they exist to protect everyone, especially children. To think that, as a sexual offender, your rights trump the rights of innocent children is offensive and repulsive. In some ways, our punishments for those that commit sexual-based crimes are too lenient.

When the two Steubenville high school football players, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, got the minimum sentence of one to two years in a juvenile detention center on March 17, for transporting, undressing, photographing and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old high school girl incapacitated by alcohol on Aug. 12, 2012, that is a travesty. The humiliation and hurt that she will face is worse then the slap on the wrist that the rapists received.

According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, out of every 100 rapes, 46 will get reported to police, 12 will lead to an arrest, nine will get prosecuted, five will lead to a felony conviction and only lead to prison time. Think on that for a moment. Out of 100 rapists, three will spend a day in jail. Where is the justice in that?

Yet those that are labeled as sex offenders think that part of their punishment is unfair and too strict. They believe that laws that limit where they can live or where they can go are too restrictive and repressive.

Well what about their victims and the years of pain and hurt they go through? That is not something that they can just walk away from. The hurt and pain is always there with victims. They have been robbed of their innocence and their childhood. When you take that away from them, you forfeit your rights. I believe that sexual offenders that sexually victimize children should be treated the same that we treat felony murderers. You take away the innocence and childhood from a child through sexual victimization, you should forfeit your life.

David Trower is a senior management and information systems major from Waco. He is the web editor for The Lariat.