In an earlier post and our weekly update, we discussed a Bill (sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book) to expand the number of offenses that would create a rebuttable presumption of dangerousness to children, to include non-contact sex offenses, such as child pornography.
It’s hard to argue that one’s “status” as a sex offender is not punitive, when it impedes your freedom to be a parent to your own children (or future children), even if they had nothing to do with your offense. It’s a scary thought that the government can one day show up at your door and remove your children for something you did decades ago. It’s something you’d only imagine happens under the most tyrannical regimes… only it’s happening here!
Last week, the Mississippi Supreme Court, in Hartley v. Watts (No. 2015-CA-00217-SCT) terminated the parental rights of a sex offender convicted in Florida (the children relocated to Mississippi) in part because of his status as a sex offender. The opinion states, “The chancellor considered the effect of Hartley’s status as a sex-offender. He found that the social, extracurricular, and other activities of the children will be impaired by Hartley’s status as a registered sex-offender and found that this was clear and convincing evidence of risk of substantial harm to the children.”
In other words – the parent’s status as a sex offender would impact his children’s social activities and the father’s ability to remain involved in their extracurricular activities – that his status would “substantially harm” the children.
To any registrant who is a parent or planning to become one; the threat of having the government come in and take away your children should terrify you!