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Halloween Hysteria Over Sex Offenders Unwarranted

Dear Editor,

After the salacious onslaught of sexual abuse news from the Brett Kavanaugh accusations, we should breathe a sigh of relief that focus might turn elsewhere, at least until the next round.

Not so.

Halloween is here and once again, false and misleading information will be disseminated regarding “saving” children from sexual predators – read: anyone on the CT sex offense registry. It’s an annual event when maps are often published about where people on the CT registry live, inviting vigilantism and public shaming including shaming of family members, disallowing persons on the registry from trick or treating even with their own children and all too often repeating false information about danger posed.

Of course, parents should look after their children closely. Most bad things that happen on Halloween are injuries from cars or wet roads, too much of a good thing ie:  candy or ill-fitting costumes that cause accidents. When it comes to sexual predators, the statistics are nowhere near these totals:  theft (32 percent), vandalism (21 percent), assault 19 percent, burglary 9 percent.

In fact, a study was done by highly regarded academic researchers to find out if parents should be especially alert to the dangers of abduction or assault of their children over Halloween. The study, “How Safe are Trick-or-Treaters: An Analysis of Child Sex Crime Rates on Halloween” found, “no significant increase in risk for non-familial child sexual abuse on or just prior to Halloween.

This emphasizes the fact that upwards to 95 percent of sex crimes are committed by persons known to the child, such as a family member, relative or trusted acquaintance – NOT persons on the registry.

Halloween hysteria is far out of proportion to actual fact. The State of CT Office of Policy and Management Study on Recidivism of Sexual Offenses cites the conviction rate for sexual re-offense after 5 years of leaving prison is 2.6 percent. Yet according to current Connecticut law, they often must stay on the registry for life.

What should we be more scared of – a nonexistent bogeyman or misuse of taxpayer money enforcing laws based on bogus fears?

Cindy Prizio

Executive Director, One Standard of Justice

New Canaan

Email us: editor@thehartfordguardian.com
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