Sunday, September 13, 2009

Claim and Counterclaim

Lets examine Dr. Anna Salter’s "prize-winning work in which she cites studies finding that the average sex offender assaults more than 100 different victims during a lifetime." Because I am not aware of a single such study I had to take a few moments to review, briefly.

Dr. Salter's website is here. Does "average" mean most, about half? In what context ...?

Sex offender by definition means someone on the registry. You don't know who is a sex offender until they land on the registry. Dangerous pathological criminal is not the definition a rational mind would use to define sex offender based upon the information available at this time despite what we see on the registries, which is "criminal history" of conviction, and despite what Dr. Salter and Webster imply. I have not examined the registries carefully, but my gut tells me it is rare to see individuals with multiple convictions listed.

The claim re "average sex offender" and 100 victims was passed on by this professor, as if citing a fact:

Dr. Wendy Murphy, an Adjunct Professor at New England Law School, has an opinion piece entitled Sex offender laws flawed but critical. The editorial criticizes the recent Economist article (previously mentioned here), which Professor Murphy describes as a "puff piece about how sex offenders are treated unfairly and sex offender registries are barbaric."

Said response to the Economist piece were found here, Sex Crimes, in which Corey responds, in the context of sex offender registries:

Studies that show the incredible number of victims certain offenders have are irrelevant to the efficacy of sex offender registries except insofar as those instances of victimization occur after arrest, conviction, and release. Yet, in the article Murphy dismisses the use of post-release statistics (which are the only numbers we should care about in assessing the value of collateral restrictions). Pre-arrest numbers simply have no bearing on the subject. Further, the claim that, "the average sex offender assaults more than 100 different victims during a lifetime" is simply indefensible. There is no such evidence.

Peliminary Conclusion: So Murphy and Salter, two well educated pillars of the community are passing along misinformation for what purpose, by accident or mistake, or merely ignorance? It is hard to underestimate the damage these sorts of people cause among the rest of us, the unwitting accepting public.


John said...

Interest article! I've enjoyed reading your blog. Please check out a favorite blog of mine -Professor Leonard Birdsong, a law professor and Harvard law grad, based out of Orlando, FL.

"Major" Mori said...

thanks john, i will! m