Look At It This Way

Seeing old things in new ways.

Hi...I'm Your Sex Offender Neighbor

Can I Borrow a Cup of Compassion?

I was at a convention in the Midwest for the past week so it wasn't until this morning that I came across the following email. I was certainly moved by what this woman had to say and would like to share her plea with as many of you as possible. Because it was attached to a column titled "Some Really Scary Sex" that I wrote a month ago, not that many of you would be likely to see it.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/look-it-way/201005/some-reall...

For that reason, I've copied the letter and added the single response. If you can provide any insight and/or offer any help, now's the time. Please read the following and then make your comments:


My husband is on the sex offender registry in Illinois, for 15 years for having a consensual relationship with me, his wife, when I was 16. He is lumped in with pedophiles, rapists and the worst kind of perverts. We have three children and my husband cant keep a job (he has a P.H.D), he cant pick up our kids from school, we've been thrown out of our home twice because we live by a school and police monitor our home. Why in Gods name isn't any common sense prevailing around this issue and when do we start letting people off the registry who are not a public threat? This is destroying our family, our children's well-being and my father in law (a decorated war veteran) has depleted his pension supporting us. We have testified before Illinois congress, had several favorable articles on us from the Chicago Tribune, yet they wont let my husband - Mark - off the registry. He only has a misdemeanor for being with me, his devoted wife of 5 years now. We were married by the same judge,(Thomas E. Nowinski,) who gave Mark the misdemeanor. Please, please someone help us. Neighbors stare at our home; people think a rapist lives in the home. Mark's oldest son (from a previous marriage) was assaulted in Hyde Park, defending Mark from fellow classmates calling Mark a rapist!! This is ruining my children's welfare and I, the "victim" am begging some one to take his name off the sex offender registry!!. To verify what I've said, look Mark Perk up on Google...we live in Crestwood IL, zip code 60445. Please, someone help my family from this horror. We have been pulled over by police and Mark detained (while our children scream in the car) so many times I can't count. This is profoundly unfair. We need your help immediately, please help us!!!!! This law (Megan's laws) was designed to protect children, not ransack and destroy families and put a Scarlet Letter around someone's neck who does not deserve to be labeled as a sex offender. Someone please, please help us. The ACLU completely ignores cases like this. You are our last hope!!!!

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The First Reply:

My neighbor across the street is on the Texas sex offender registry. His now deceased father-in-law didn't like that he got his underage girlfriend (his daughter) pregnant. The father-in law is dead. My neighbor is married to the now-of-age girlfriend and they have two children between them. Your story is their story too.

You ask the question, "Why in Gods name isn't any common sense prevailing around this issue and why not start letting people off the registry who are not a public threat?"

I have an answer for you. There isn't any common sense prevailing. Welcome to Hell! Rather than tear down laws people build more. It gives them power over people.

"Law in origin was merely a codification of the power of dominant groups, and did not aim at anything that to a modern man would appear to be justice" - Bertrand Russell

Stephen Benedict-Mason is a psychologist, a former university professor, syndicated newspaper columnist and radio talk-show host.

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