In the past couple of weeks, large mainstream news outlets, including the NY Times and Washington Post, have reported on the significant myth perpetuated as a result of the US Supreme Court’s statement that sex offender recidivism rates were “frightening and high.” As we now all know, that was a huge myth. The Washington Post went as far as to refer to the statement as “The Big Lie”
A year ago, aeporter from Cumberlink.com by the name of Joshua Vaughn, wrote a piece called “Closer Look, Finding Statistics to Fit a Narrative” that was re-posted on FAC. The piece made all the points being made now and made when the Ira Ellman piece came out debunking the myth, except it went a step further by interviewing Licensed Professional Counselor Robert Longo – the source of the misinformation that was quoted in the Psychology Today article (and in turn, quoted by SCOTUS).
In fact, Mr. Longo was disturbed by the misuse of his statements. He thought what happened was “unfortunate” and said, “people use statistics and they will twist statistics. People are going to take anything that works to their advantage, or twist a quote, to make it work to their advantage.” Which is what he described happened to his quote from 1986.
How does Longo himself feel about registration laws? He was against them, not believing they will do anything to keep people safe or prevent sexual offense.
So how does a statement that’s so off-base even the person who said it feels it’s misused create such dangerous laws? After almost 15 years of damage, that’s something that will hopefully be addressed soon.