Dear Members and Advocates,
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve posted about several teachers, coaches and law enforcement personnel who have gotten arrested for a sexual offense. We don’t share these stories to shame the perpetrators – the justice system is here to punish them appropriately. We certainly don’t share the stories to normalize the crimes – The Florida Action Committee is strongly against sexual offenses. Our only purpose for sharing the stories is to demonstrate that the most likely perpetrators of sexual offenses are not people forced to register as sex offenders, but someone the victim knows or trusts. By “most likely” we are not talking about a simple majority, we are talking about the overwhelming number of cases. And this is not our opinion, this is data generated from The US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. According to their reporting, 93% of juvenile victims knew the perpetrator.
The reason we want to highlight this statistic is because the general public doesn’t appear to know this. The general public seems to believe that people on a government registry are the ones most likely to commit the sexual offenses, each of these people are incorrigible and all are lying in wait for the right opportunity to abduct a kid from a playground. The general public is grossly misinformed about recidivism rates and who the most likely perpetrators of sexual offenses against children are. The misinformation fed to the public is dangerous and by living according to this imaginary perception, children are less safe.
Here’s a mind blowing fact: Your child is far more likely to be sexually abused by their teacher than someone on the sex offender registry. Overwhelmingly more likely! In 2004, the United States Department of Education completed a very comprehensive study synthesizing existing data to determine the prevalence of sexual misconduct of students by educators. The report was performed as required by the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001” and included students from kindergarten through 12th Grade. The “educators” included any person older than 18 who works with or for a school or other educational or learning organization, such as teachers, counselors, school administrators, secretaries, bus drivers, coaches, parent volunteers for student activities, lunchroom attendants, tutors, music teachers, special education aides, or any other adult in contact in a school-related relationship with a student. The study included a nearly 100 page Appendix of references supporting the statistics.
The report concluded that ten percent (10%) of students experience sexual misconduct by an educator at some time during their K-12 school experience. Mind blowing, right? Even if you rely on the very aggressive statistics taken from Lauren’s Kids (that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be victims of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday), that would mean roughly 1/3 of all sexual assaults against minor girls are committed by educators (and 1/5th of all sexual assaults against boys)!
I will not get into the low recidivism rate of people on the registry because (1) I don’t want to come off as defensive and (2) for purposes of this weekly update people on the registry are not even statistically significant to the danger. But here’s what is significant: According to the National Association for Education Statistics, in 2021 about 49.5 million students were enrolled in public schools in prekindergarten to grade 12. That is A LOT of children entrusted to our government every day when parents drop them off at public schools. Knowing that nearly 5 million of them will become victims of sexual assault at the hands of their educators, protecting them against that risk should be a priority to state and federal governments. It doesn’t appear to be.
According to a January 2014 report from the US Government Accountability office, titled, “Federal Agencies Can Better Support State Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Abuse by School Personnel”, the agency suggested that, well… the federal government can do more to help states prevent sexual abuse by school personnel. Ironically, a year before that report, the federal government reauthorized the Adam Walsh Act, including millions upon millions of dollars in grants to help the states and other jurisdictions come into compliance with the national sex offender registry requirements of the Act (the 2014 report didn’t even reference the AWA as a viable tool – shows how useful the GAO found the AWA). You would think that with the availability of hundreds of millions of dollars for the AWA to address an extremely rare danger, the government would allocate something to address the more probable danger, but despite that recommendation there’s been nothing. Interestingly, in a report last year from the Institute of Education Sciences, in conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, titled, “Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety”, the fact that 10% of students experience sexual misconduct by an educator, wasn’t even addressed. As stated above, the general public doesn’t appear to know the facts and are likely being diverted from relevant data towards myths that point the finger at a convenient and unsympathetic patsy. The facts are important whether it’s crafting government policy or making family decisions.
A parent does not need to be an actuary to appreciate risks to their children. I might not be the best in math, but if I went to my kid’s school open house and the principal got up and said, “Hello and welcome to XYZ Public School, here at XYZ 80% of our students will go on to graduate with their high school diploma, 45% of our students get accepted to a college or university, and 10% of our students will be eaten by an alligator”, I’d have some pretty specific follow up questions.
The bottom line is we ALL want our children (and every child) to be safe and free of sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, car accidents, school shootings, and other dangers kids are exposed to during their lives. But knowing the facts and not being misled by political propaganda is critical to accomplish that. It is so counter-intuitive to condition parents to check a “sex offender registry” in order to protect their children from sexual abuse, when the reality is; compared to the rarity of a child being abused by someone on that registry, the one-in-10 chance that they will experience sexual misconduct by an educator seems a near certainty.
It is time parents demanded their legislators repeal the Adam Walsh Act and reallocate the resources currently being wasted, into truly protecting our children!
The Florida Action Committee
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ANNOUNCEMENTS – MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Next Monthly Membership Meeting – Thursday October 6 at 8pm ET. Call 319-527-3487. Topic: How the Registry impacts Women and a study on Mothers of Registered Citizens with Guest Shelley Kavanaugh LCSW. If you have trouble connecting, text CALL ME to 319-527-3487 to received a call back and be connected to the meeting.
Next New Member Orientation Call – Thursday October 13 at 8pm ET. Call 319-527-3487. How can we help you? No set agenda. Call-in to ask questions about organization, get resources and referrals, find support groups, or share stories and concerns. If you have trouble connecting, text CALL ME to 319-527-3487 to received a call back and be connected to the meeting.
See Calendar of Events – Keep up with Meet-and-Greets in your area, Support groups, Membership Calls, and other events. For questions and more information contact the Membership Team; [email protected] or call 833-273-7325,Option 1.
Click Here for Calendar, and double click on the event to view details and RSVP instructions. Just some of the upcoming events below.
Sep 23-25 – FAC County Coordinator Weekend Retreat in Vero Beach. Come for a few hours or stay all weekend. Your FAC representatives are getting together to discuss, plan and organize more local and state-wide gatherings to bring members together, share resources, and strengthen our voices in Florida. Members interested in becoming a County Coordinator, or just meeting with us sometime during the weekend to share ideas, brainstorm and plan events are always welcome. Contact the Membership Team to participate.
Thu Sep 29 at 7pm NEW Men’s Group– Call in to meet others for a discussion on issues that impact men. Discussion will be based in part on the book “28 PITFALLS OF A MAN: A Practical Handbook Confronting Traps Every Man Will Face” by FAC member Rodney Rankins. E-book is available, and hard copies of of the book will be available at discounted price through the FAC Membership Team. To Participant in the Men’s Group discussion, call 319-527-3487.. If any trouble connecting or if your service provider charges a fee, then simply text CALL ME to 319-527-3487 to receive a call back and be connected for free.
Oct 5-7 Palm Beach Re-Entry Summit – If you are involved with Re-Entry of Returning Citizens after incarceration, or want to become involved with a Re-Entry Task Force in your area, you may want to consider attending the Summit (at your own expense) or contacting the Membership team with your interest/concerns. At least one FAC Board member will be attending the Summit to represent Registered Citizens and ensure that our community is INCLUDED in all re-entry service programs and opportunities. Contact the Membership Team with your interests.
Oct 8 from 11am-1pm ET – Family Support Group Zoom call. Therapist-led support group of spouses, partners, parents, and relatives who have loved ones on the Registry. By invitation only. Contact the Membership Team to participate.
Meet-and Greets – Locations, guest speakers, and other information is provided when you RSVP.
Sat Oct 22 – Meet and Greet in Hernando/Brooksville 2-4pm RSVP to [email protected] or call 833-273-7325 Option 1 (say Hernando)
Sat Oct 22- Meet and Greet in Jacksonville -Potluck Dinner – 3:00-5:30pm. RSVP to Brad at [email protected] or call 833-273-7325 Option 1 (say Duval).
Sat Oct 22- Meet and Greet in Sarasota. 1:00-4:00pm RSVP to [email protected] or call 941-500-4706
Sat Oct 29 Meet and Greet in Fort Myers . 1:00-4:00pm RSVP to [email protected] or text/call 941-315-7914
Sat Oct 29 – Civil Commitment: Intent vs Reality- Apopka (Orange County) – FAC is hosting the visit of a research Sociologist from University of South Carolina, Greensboro in preparation of his research on Civil Commitment. He is interested in meeting and talking to persons that have knowledge and experience with the Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia FL. Former residents, family members, professionals are invited to join us to identify issues/concerns, understand the intent vs reality of the system, and to identify the areas of research that need to be studied to support changes. Contact the Membership Team to participate.
Become a County Coordinator. The only requirement is your desire to HELP us organize your county. If you are interested in joining the County Coordinator Team, leave message at 833-273-7325, Option 1, or email [email protected]
Letter-Writing Campaigns – If you would like to participate in sending educational information to specific decision makers in Florida, please contact [email protected]. Volunteers must be willing to proudly identify themselves by using their own name and return address on the letters.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
On the afternoon of Tuesday September 13 2022, I received a phone call which I missed from number 1 904 297 – 2250 the caller left a voice mail informing me that he was from the St Johns County Sheriffs office and that I needed to cantact him right away regarding an…
The following letter was sent to the Mayor of the City of Miami concerning the homeless crisis. We do feel it presents a very viable solution to the homeless issue. FAC Letter to Miami RE…
We’re so annoyed!!! Just days ago, we posted a fun article titled “Polk County Pick’Em” that poked a little fun at Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd’s sting operations. The article, which can be read here (https://floridaactioncommittee.org/polk-county-pickem/) presented…
The opinion (Lindsey v Swearingen – Opinion), issued yesterday in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, held that Florida does not need to give Full Faith and Credit to an Oklahoma Order removing someone from the Oklahoma Registry, because the Oklahoma Order did not…