Friday, May 26, 2017

The Cherry-Picked Statistics Of Parents For Megan's Law

Yes, Another Fun Exercise

In case you forgot about the last time I fact-checked a list of statistics, see here. This time around, we will do Parents For Megan's Law, which has a short list of scary-looking facts. Yes, scary-looking. Almost all of them, off the top of my head, are garbage or come from garbage sources that do not even come close to a comprehensive look at the issue. Fortunately for us, PFML has decided to tell us where they are getting their bogus information from so we can have an easier time of nitpicking their erroneous statistics.

The List... And Its Counters

For Adults

  1. The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) reports the results of a 2004 Harris and Hanson study which indicates that rapists have a 24% rate of re-offense, child molesters targeting girls 16%, and child molesters targeting boys, 35%. Offenders with a previous sex offense conviction have a 37% re-offense rate. 
    1. Source Cited (NOTE: DISABLE your javascript when following this link, as it is infected with a virus)
      1. Why should I trust a link that tries to infect my computer with a virus? Just no. 
      2. They cite a long list of information, so their "source" is just a garbage way of linking you to a second list of information. 
      3. The actual study can be found here, and the sample size is rather small at 4,724. The study also uses estimates for some of their information, and multiple studies have been done since that have very different results. Also, we have the statement of R. Karl Hanson himself about recidivism rates. Women Against Registry has a nice list of recidivism rates for sex offenders and the studies that source them that range from .8-12%, most being around 3-4%.
      4. Child molesters have generally lower rates of recidivism compared to rapists, and the 37% recidivism rate does not differentiate between any new crime committed and sexual recidivism (which a New York study puts at 8% with an 8-year follow-up period, and is generally much lower than general recidivism).
  2. Rapists repeat their offenses at rates up to 35%; offenders who molest young boys, at rates up to 40%; and those rates do not decline appreciably over time.
    1. Source Cited: Godfrey and Botelho v. John Doe. Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioners. 01-729.  Page 3. 
      1. I will take your brief and raise you the statement of R. Karl Hanson: "Once convicted, most sexual offenders are never re-convicted of another sexual offence.  First-time sexual offenders are significantly less likely to sexually re-offend than are those with previous sexual convictions. Contrary to the popular notion that sexual offenders remain at risk of re-offending through their lifespan, the longer offenders remain offence-free in the community, the less likely they are to re-offend sexually. Eventually, they are less likely to re-offend than a non-sexual offender is to commit an “out of the blue” sexual offence."
      2. See also: 95% of new sex crimes are not committed by registered sex offenders, but by first-time offenders, those new to the criminal justice system. Citing the recidivism rates of specific offender types do not make those types the norm. 
  3. “Reported recidivism rates vary widely depending on the length of follow-up period employed, the methods used to calculate recidivism, and, perhaps, the sample size of the study.”
    1. Source Cited.
      1. This is common knowledge, and frankly speaking, not every study is done the same with the same results. Studies with larger sample sizes find higher recidivism rates, but the larger sample sizes also include a broader definition of what is considered a sexual offense. Some states include kidnapping and first-degree murder, where others call indecent exposure and public urination a sex offense. 
      2. Recidivism can also measure three things: Rearrest rates, reconviction rates, and re-incarceration rates, and findings will be higher for rearrests and lower for re-incarceration. 
      3. They just refuted their first two statistics by saying that they may be false representations of recidivism. 
  4. “In his study of 561 sex offenders, Dr. Gene Abel found pedophiles who targeted young boys outside the home committed the greatest number of crimes with an average of 281.7 acts …molesters who targeted girls within the family committed an average of 81.3 acts…”
    1. Source Cited: Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis for Law Enforcement Officers Investigating Cases of Child Exploitation (1992) Kenneth V. Lanning
      1. Dr. Gene Abel is not a serious researcher by any stretch of the imagination, and his pseudo-science has been thoroughly debunked. I know of one study where the man defined pedophilia in part as the act of child molestation, and then he asked about 5,000 people if they had molested a child and if they had a sexual attraction to children.  He then concluded that 95% of child molesters "have a sexual attraction to children". Meanwhile, another study has shown around a third of child molesters have pedophilia, as measured by science, not flawed survey-taking. 
      2. In short, no one can take Gene Abel seriously these days.
  5. 46% of rapists who were released from prison were re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime: 18.6% for a violent offense, 14.8% for a property offense, 11.2% for a drug offense and 20.5% for a public disorder offense.
    1. Source Cited: Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      1. In other words, well over half committed an offense that had nothing to do with rape? Okay, what is the point? Rapists do not make up the majority of sexual offenders.
      2. I think we have thoroughly looked at recidivism. It varies by offense, but generally, most sex offenders do not commit future sex crimes.
Offender Characteristics:
  1. The average age of a rapist is 31-years-old and 52.2% are white males.
    1. Source Cited: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics. 1997 Sex Offenses and Offenders Study. 1997.
      1. Okay, tip when citing a study: You only need to cite the year once. 
      2. Another tip: The title of the study should be verbatim what the title of the study is.
      3. That particular tidbit of information, along with most of this entire list, is refuted by the numerous organizations (Darkness to Light, Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, Stop It Now!, and many others) who say there is no profile for those that sexually abuse or rape others. You cannot profile them, yet PFML is trying to mislead people into suspecting white 31-year-old males. Half of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by juveniles, not adults, and 70% of sex offenders have offenses against children. If you run the math on that, I doubt you come up with most people being 31 years old and a white male to boot.
  2. One-Fourth of Exhibitionists Commit Additional Sex Offenses.
    1. Source Cited.
      1. It is quite well-known that exhibitionists often have higher sexual recidivism rates (often, further exhibitionist displays) than the average sex offender. It is also well-known that exhibitionists make up a very small portion of sex offenders. 
      2. Citing one single study to support the conclusion that all exhibitionists are a threat is like citing a single political poll to say that Donald Trump will lose the 2020 election. 
      3. That 1/4th of exhibitionists commit new sex offenses means that 75% do not.
      4. How is this a characteristic of a sex offender? 
  3. On a given day in 1994 there were approximately 234,000 offenders convicted of rape or sexual assault under the care, custody, or control of corrections agencies; nearly 60% of these sex offenders are under conditional supervision in the community.
    1. Source Cited: Sex Offenses and Offenders an Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. (1997) U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      1. Citing the same source in a different manner, over 20 years after the fact is relevant, does not make the fact more relevant.
      2. Most sex offenders are in the community, and most never reoffend or are even a risk to the community. The biggest risk to children does not come from sex offenders.
      3. They obviously did not bother reading past the first page for this statistic, as it is copied almost verbatim from the title page. Lazy.
  4. An estimated 24% of those serving time for rape and 19% of those serving time for sexual assault had been on probation or parole at the time of the offense for which they were in State prison in 1991.
    1. Source Cited: Sex Offenses and Offenders an Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. (1997) U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      1. This is completely irrelevant.
  5. Of released sex offenders who allegedly committed another sex crime, 40% perpetrated the new offense within a year or less from their prison discharge.
    1. Source Cited: Sex Offenses and Offenders an Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. (1997) U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      1. This is also fairly irrelevant. 
      2. A relevant statistic might be that, in a study of over 64,000 sex offenders, only 3.1% of males and 1.8% of females had zero adverse childhood experiences in their childhood. In other words, most sex offenders have trauma in their childhood, which means we could intervene long before they commit a sex crime.
  6. Overall, an estimated 61% of violent sex offenders in State prisons have a prior conviction history that resulted in a sentence to probation or incarceration.
    1. Source Cited: Sex Offenses and Offenders an Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault. (1997) U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
      1. What is the definition for a violent sex offender? 
      2. This statistic seems abnormally high in the face of more recent research, particularly the low sexual recidivism rates nationwide and the study of 21 years of arrest data out of New York finding that 95% of sex crimes were committed by first-time offenders (those with no prior record). Which brings us back to...
      3. What do they define as a violent sex offense? Forcible rape, statutory rape, lewd acts with children, forcible sodomy, and "other sexual assaults", whatever that means.
  7. Only 2% of the Catholic clergy sexual abusers were ever jailed. The number of victims reported were 10,667 with an estimate of 4,392 abusers.
    1. Source Cited: Hamilton, Marci (2004) Shockingly, Only 2% of Catholic Clergy Sexual Abusers Were Ever Jailed. Find Law, March 11,2004.
      1. The population of the United States is currently 321.4 million people. Of those, it is estimated that one in six boys and one in four girls faces child sexual abuse, alternatively phrased by many researchers as one in ten children. 10% of 321.4 million is 32.14 million people, which is many, many times 10,667. 
      2. In other words, there are many more abuse victims that are not abused by Catholic clergy.
      3. And frankly, it is estimated that 38% of sexual abuse cases are reported to police, which would be a much better statistic to cite.  
  1. The average adolescent sex offender will, without treatment, go on to commit 380 sex crimes during his lifetime.
    1. Source Cited: Howard E. Barbaree, Stephen M. Hudson and Michael Seto (1993) Sexual Assault in Society: The Role of the Juvenile Offender. In The Juvenile Sex Offender. Guilford Press, NY. Page 11.
      1. 97% of juvenile sex offenders will never commit another sex offense.
      2. The cited source is a book, and it sounds like something Gene Abel would say.
      3. I debunked this in the last fact-check as well.
  2. 20% of all rapes and 30% to 50% of child molestations are perpetrated by adolescent males.
    1. Source Cited: Howard E. Barbaree, Stephen M. Hudson and Michael Seto (1993) Sexual Assault in Society: The Role of the Juvenile Offender. In The Juvenile Sex Offender. Guilford Press, NY. Page 11
      1. Which means we obviously need to be doing a better job of raising children and intervening in sexual crimes before they happen. Thank you for making my point, which is that...

Sexual crimes are preventable before they happen by reaching at-risk youth and those with Adverse Childhood Experiences before a victim is harmed. They are not preventable by only reacting after they happen with sex offender policies.

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