Dear Members and Advocates:
Three years ago I was very angry at Galen Baughman. Galen was an outspoken anti-registry activist. He had recently been awarded a Soros Fellowship, he was just featured by a respected NY Journalist, and most publicly he had put out a great TED Talk called “Are We All Sex Offenders?” which we hoped would bring a lot of exposure to our cause. But from one day to the next, it seemed, he went from being the poster child for rehabilitation… to the poster child for recidivism.
Apparently, while this was going on, Galen was communicating with a 16 year old. How could he be so irresponsible? How can he disrespect the exposure people were giving him? How could someone that allowed himself to be so visible in our cause, also allow himself to mess up so significantly? Galen’s big stumble was covered by Slate a few years ago, and accurately depicted how many of us were feeling about it.
Ultimately, Galen’s action did not constitute a new crime, but communicating with a minor was a violation of his probation. He was given a few years in prison for the violation – plenty of time for Galen to reflect on his actions. Although his sentence has ended, Galen is still being held in an Arlington, VA jail because the State wants him to be civilly committed. Civil commitment is the involuntary and indefinite detention of an individual beyond their sentence. It’s something FAC stands strongly against.
The few years that he has been locked up has also afforded plenty of time for me to reflect on how I feel about Galen’s situation. I’m no longer angry. As we deliberated how to advocate against Galen’s civil commitment, another board member reminded me that forgiveness is a cornerstone in our movement. After all, how many out there think that what each of us individually has done is unforgivable?
Next week, the State of Virginia will hold a trial to determine whether to civilly commit Galen. There are many reasons that would be unjust. First; he’s been in prison over three years for his probation violation – had his action constituted a new crime, he would have been charged with one. Second; indefinite incarceration for a probation violation is excessive. Civil commitment (if it must exist – which it should not) should be reserved for only the most sexually violent offenders. Third; keeping someone confined to prevent something they might possibly do in the future offends the Constitution on so many levels. And for those who don’t care about human rights; the annual cost of civil commitment is approximately $150,000 per individual!
This situation is also a reminder of how high profile cases generate a lot of interest and can create very skewed public perception. Instead of worrying about others pointing the finger at one individual and shouting “you see…!”, we should be standing up and pointing out the overwhelming majority of us who are registered and never go on to re-offend and shouting “you see… recidivism rates are extremely low!”
Beyond what his attorneys are doing, there is little anyone can do at this point other than to share the Washington Post opinion piece with others so that the public will be educated on this horrific practice. We will hope for a good outcome next week. For Galen and for all of us.
The Florida Action Committee
The giving season is upon us and everyone will be shopping. An easy, no fuss way to support the Florida Action Committee outreach is through Amazon Smile.
Amazon has made it very simple for you to designate a qualified, non-profit organization as your preferred recipient of support for any online purchases you make. The Amazon Smile program allows you to designate an approved non-profit organization to receive a portion of the funds you spend on the items that you purchase on Amazon. At no additional cost to you, your participation in this program is a useful way to financially assist the organizations that you already support.
We are pleased to let you know Justice Transitions (JT) is a 501(c)(3) that participates in the Amazon Smile program. JT supports and sponsors many projects through FAC. Funds donated through Amazon Smile go towards outreach and support projects, small grants and loans to homeless, indigent, elderly, and disabled registered citizens and their families, for basic needs.
This link will take you directly to smile.amazon.com to set up your personal Amazon account and select Justice Transitions in Sanford FL as your charity. You can then begin to make purchases using https://smile.amazon.com in order to be certain that Justice Transitions benefits from the purchases you make.
It’s that simple. So, please show your support by designating Justice Transitions (JT) in Sanford FL as your charity and support FAC Registered Citizen Outreach projects.
Thu Sep 26-Meet and Greet in Lakeland (Polk County) – Dinner 5-6pm and Meeting 6-7pm.
Sat Sep 28-Workshop in Apopka from 1-4pm – Come ready to stuff envelopes, make phone calls, plan projects for FAC Team Orlando
Sat Oct 5- Family Support Session in Central Broward County -11:00am-1:00pm -Seating is limited. RSVP early.
Sun Oct 13-Meet and Greet in Daytona (Volusia County) 3:00-5:00pm
Sat Oct 26-Workshop in Apopka from 1-4pm – Come ready to turn our stories into letters, presentations, and speeches for FAC Team Orlando
For more information about these events, or to RSVP email [email protected] or call 904-452-8322. No children please.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK
In Florida, registration is for life. We have people with 20, 30 year old convictions who are still on the list, have to comply with a long list of requirements, and if they don’t – it’s a felony. Take, for example, the case of C.B. (no need to use his real name and…
The city of North Port thought it would be a good idea to post a sign at a house following a suspected drug dealer’s arrest, but many don’t think this idea is a good one. In fact, police had to take down the sign a few hours after posting it, because there were others…
In a decision that came out yesterday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Florida, Georgia and Alabama) ruled that the district court’s sentence in a particularly heinous child pornography case was reasonable. Kyle Kirby, a former law enforcement…
The following is an announcement about an event talking about Amendment 4 – for those in the area it’s a good opportunity to speak out about registrants being excluded from the amendment. The South Florida Reentry Task Force is taking the initiative to unite and…