March 3, 2017

Sex offender loophole

As I read the news story concerning the sex offender loophole (Boston Herald, Feb. 14), I noticed that the City Council is talking about a public hearing  on a loophole that allows sex offenders to register as homeless in public places such as the Boston Common. City Councilor Michael Flaherty states this loophole “puts the public at a huge disadvantage when trying to protect children from sex predators.”

According to the Herald, more than 200 city sex offenders including 75 Level 3s are on the lam after failing to register and 175 have registered as homeless. I think the hearing may help push Beacon Hill to actually investigate this serious issue of homeless sexual predators.

As a retired police officer with 28 years of service with the Department of Mental Health, I saw first hand all the issues regarding released sex offenders back in the community. Many of these leveled offenders often live in many of the Boston area homeless shelters. At one, I found upwards of 55 percent of the homeless residents were sex offenders.

The whole system of registering with local police departments is easier said than done. The restrictions placed upon this somewhat dangerous at times segment of the population never took into account, if you don’t have an apartment and if you aren’t in a shelter, where are you.

Where does a say a Level 3 those deemed most dangerous to re-offend go to register if they have no address to register at? There is nothing in the present law requiring these sex offenders to have an actual address. If they are living on the streets, where do they live, on the street?

How do we keep track of homeless sex predators? Where are they living on Thursday, the same place they lived yesterday or the same place they plan on living tomorrow?

It is tough enough to track those doing the right thing by registering, what’s to be done with homeless predators?

Once again it points out how bad public policy is created and implemented when it doesn’t deal with every aspect of the policy when put into law. The public thinks the system is working but most of the time, it is all just pretend solutions to calm the public and giving them a false security.

I hope if this public hearing is held, that the city councilors push hard to find workable solutions making society safer.  We don’t need more useless solutions.

Sal Giarratani

East Boston resident

Space savers anarchy

At a press conference on Feb. 10 Mayor Walsh declared that threats posted on space-savers would cause the savers to be confiscated. “I just made up that rule right now!” he added. The next morning my neighbor asked if I had security cameras, since overnight her tires had been flattened. The space she had shoveled had been taken and she had moved to an empty one.

In the narrowest sense the mayor had the right thought. But the evil he is party to is when political leaders try to make up law to suit themselves. With no statute about space savers, a public official’s only proper comment is: “You put one out at your own risk.”

Whether it happens in Boston or Washington, making up law on the fly is a bad idea.

David A. Mittell, Jr.

Jamaica Plain resident

City’s women workforce report lacking


The City of Boston’s report outlining how women are underrepresented and underpaid in our workforce is an important start to addressing sexism [Mayor Walsh’s Op-Ed 2/3/17]. The report’s glaring omission of race, however, should have been at least acknowledged by Mayor Walsh in his Op-Ed. Pew Research shows that when compared to the median hourly wage of white men nationwide, Asian women earn 85 percent, White women earn 82 percent, Black women earn 65 percent, and Latina/Hispanic women earn 58 percent.  We urgently need to address both this institutional racism and sexism as a city and as a community and nation, and acknowledging them both is the first step in addressing them both.

Riana Good

Jamaica Plain resident

One Response to Letters:

  1. Vicki Henry on March 3, 2017 at 11:18 am

    According to the NCMEC map there are over 859,500 men, women and children (as young as 8 and 10 in some states) required to register and the “crimes” range from urinating in public (indecent exposure), sexting, incest, mooning, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, viewing abusive OR suggestive images of anyone 18 years old or younger, playing doctor, prostitution, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape, endangering the welfare of a child, the old bate-n-switch internet stings (taking sometimes 12 months before a person steps over the line) and many others.

    If you multiply the number on the registry by 2 or 3 family members you can clearly see there are well over 4 million wives, children, moms, aunts, girlfriends, grandmothers and other family members who experience the collateral damage of being murdered, harassed, threatened, children beaten, have signs placed in their yards, homes set on fire, vehicles damaged, asked to leave their churches and other organizations, children passed over for educational opportunities, have flyers distributed around their neighborhood, wives lose their jobs when someone learns they are married to a registrant….all these things occur when these people try to hold their family together and provide the three things that professionals state are needed for successful re-integration; a job, a place to live and a good support system.

    The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics – ‘Frightening and High’ (must read)

    It is very important that you read the abstract below and then the full 12 page essay by Ira Mark and Tara Ellman.
    ABSTRACT This brief essay reveals that the sources relied upon by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Doe, a heavily cited constitutional decision on sex offender registries, in fact provide no support at all for the facts about sex offender re-offense rates that the Court treats as central to its constitutional conclusions. This misreading of the social science was abetted in part by the Solicitor General’s misrepresentations in the amicus brief it filed in this case. The false “facts” stated in the opinion have since been relied upon repeatedly by other courts in their own constitutional decisions, thus infecting an entire field of law as well as policy making by legislative bodies. Recent decisions by the Pennsylvania and California supreme courts establish principles that would support major judicial reforms of sex offender registries, if they were applied to the actual facts. This paper appeared in Constitutional Commentary Fall, 2015.

    A study reviewing sex crimes as reported to police revealed that:
    a) 93% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser;
    b) 34.2% were family members;
    c) 58.7% were acquaintances;
    d) Only 7% of the perpetrators of child victims were strangers;
    e) 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victims own home;
    f) 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor or relative (Jill Levenson, PhD, Lynn University)

    The public needs to decide if they want to continue to focus on those who, for the most part, are one time offenders or if they see a greater need to fund programs like “Stop It Now” that teaches about grooming behaviors and other things in their Circles of Safety.

    Women Against Registry ~ Fighting the Destruction of Families

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *