I perused a copy of the Lancaster Independent Paper at Square One earlier today and this is an open letter to its editor and publisher.
By way of introduction, Im a former sex-offender. Former, because I have not offended since I was charged with possessing underage pornography and incarcerated in July 2003, in a high profile, much ballyhooed case.
Ive since paid increased attention to (a) how sex-offense cases are reported in the media, and (b) the socio-political responses to and attitudes regarding sex-offenses and former sex-offenders.
Regarding the former, it seems that as many cases as are reported in the local-yokel media namely the fish-wraps wrongly titled, Intelligent Journal and New Era have we yet seen any in-depth reporting about sex-and-love addiction or codependency? All we have seen is a recent column by Larry Alexander who appears to be enslaved by food addiction which made light of a citizen who exposed and pleasured himself in public, to alarmed store clerks in downtown Lancaster.
Regarding the latter, the foundation of the criminal justice systems response to sex-offenses and accused and former sex-offenders is the motivating factor of fear. The helpful, therapeutic approach ingrained in probation and parole supervision, as well as court-ordered therapy, is to make former sex-offenders afraid. Afraid that theyll go back to jail if they violate any of the supervision requirements or restrictions. Afraid that theyll be charged with yet more charges when theyre subjected to a polygraph for personal sexual history. Afraid they wont be able to make ends meet as a result of paying weekly counseling fees, in addition to monthly probation or parole costs (including court costs, restitution, fines, and administrative and supervision fees), in addition to polygraph fees (around $275 a pop, about three to four times yearly).
Therapists who therapise(sic) former sex-offenders, who are in recovery, justify polygraphs and their high cost as being helpful and beneficial to clients. Polygraphs weed out clients who are snaking their way through therapy. So, for example, if a client happens to be of the Christian faith and finds more healing and wholeness through spiritual counseling and they reveal some disturbing item about their past behavior to their clergy, but doesnt reveal this same disturbing item to their therapist and others in their therapy group, theyre said to be snaking their way through therapy.
Fear is never healthy in the long run. Was your fear healthy for you in the long run? Likewise, its not healthy for former sex-offenders either. But in a country where the government leads by example and role-models for us citizens that the appropriate way to respond to violence is with yet more violence, can we expect a more reasonable response to former sex-offenders?
Former sex-offenders, who are in recovery, regret what we did. We regret who we were, who we used to be. For some, the regret comes from having lost people or things or employment or any combination of these things, due to incarceration. For some, the regret comes from a deeper place, and its unhealthy to continue thinking and behaving from this deeper place in the ways we formerly did, just as its unhealthy for victims of sex-offenses and former sex-offenders to continue thinking and behaving in a Victim Mentality. After all, former sex-offenders did what we did in our individual Victim Mentality.
Its important to discuss sex-offense issues from the perspective of having been a victim, not from continuing to be a victim. Im a former victim, which is why Im a former sex offender, just as former victims of sex-offenses are just that former victims. I hope LIP is a truly therapeutic, healing act. Anything otherwise isnt healthy for either you or the former sex-offenders publicized in its reports.