Federal Law Compels States to Register Minors on Sex Offender Registry

The fact that Jamie Lee Spears became pregnant as a minor is generally treated as an entertainment story rather than a case of child molestation for her adult boyfriend. However, even minors are now being subject to registration as sexual predators for fondling and other sexual acts with other minors under a federal law passed with the support of various members, including disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Foley (R. Fla). It is the called the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 and various states are now being compelled to put juvenile names into the system over the objections of many child advocates.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006  attempts to close a loophole in registry systems for predators who are also minors. There is no question that there are such minors can be dangers to society. Amie Zyla was violently sexually assaulted when she was only eight. The attacker was a 14-year-old boy named Joshua Wade, who was a family friend on a sleep over. Since his record was sealed, he was able to secure a good as a summer camp worker when he was released, where he promptly (as an adult) abused various girls.

Such stories do show that need to deal with such predatorial minors. However, the scope of the federal law is astonishing and the need to put many of these minors on a stigmatizing register is highly questionable. Consider the case described recently by a L.A. newspaper:

When Ricky was 16, he went to a teen club and met a girl named Amanda, who said she was the same age. They hit it off and were eventually having sex. At the time Ricky thought it was a pretty normal high school romance.

Two years later, Ricky is a registered sex offender, and his life is destroyed.

Amanda turned out to be 13. Ricky was arrested, tried as an adult, and pleaded guilty to the charge of lascivious acts with a child, which is a class D felony in Iowa. It is not disputed that the sex was consensual, but intercourse with a 13-year-old is illegal in Iowa.

Ricky was sentenced to two years probation and 10 years on the Iowa online sex offender registry. Ricky and his family have since moved to Oklahoma, where he will remain on the state’s public registry for life.

The contrast with the Spears case is striking. (Click here).

It would seem a far better idea to allow judges to unseal such cases like that of Joshua Wade or in the very least narrow such laws to the most serious offenses.

Sex offenses now can range from touching the private parts of another minor to violent rape. Putting 14 year olds on the registry for fondling in consensual cases makes little sense, but states face penalties if they do not comply with the federal law.

There is no question that the police and the public need to have the ability to track people like Wade. However, the sponsors of this law seemed to give little thought to the range of conduct covered by the act and no one now wants to be accused of “watering down” a sexual predator law.

For the full story, click here

9 thoughts on “Federal Law Compels States to Register Minors on Sex Offender Registry”

  1. there are distinctions…especially when one is falsely accused. DNA evidence all of a sudden is lost by police and the DA because it does not confirm their charges. One boy who was merely removing a girl from his home after she ran into the house uninvited. He was 10. Now he is a registered sex offender because the justice system had to justify the costs involved in trying this case.

  2. I’m sorry but I agree with the Adam Walsh Act in its entirety. My daughter was just sexually molested by a 16 year old and along with that case came forth other victims whom he raped. He is only facing a sentence of “treatment” while these children will be victims of this their whole lives. I am 32 years old and was also a victim of child abuse and you wouldn’t want to see my views on this.

  3. In my opinion, the responsibility should fall back on the parents. This is just one of many issues that coincide with parents thinking that a kid that can pop something in the microwave, wipe his own hinny, and bathe himself, is practically an adult. If the parents of these young teens don’t teach their children right from wrong and basic fundamental morals, then it should be put on the parents shoulders. This in itself is a hugely overlooked problem. I think each case should be assessed to find out if the child is being raised properly before sentencing him to a lifelong battle of a tarnished reputation. The parents should be the ones punished for not teaching their children, not the untaught child. Respectably, I am a mother of four and believe my children’s actions reflect back on me and the efforts I’ve put fourth in raising them to be respectable, upstanding, law abiding members of society.

  4. She purred as he pulled out, rolling onto her side as he moved aside. Most of Jaraks men were stationed closely around the womens tower and the central court. Is the casting of this spell anything like the one that changes women to raedjour? Arkir grabbed for Lanthan and managed to keep his hold as the smaller man twisted. She felt the soothing fingers of a sleep spell seep into her mind. Rocks and debris filled them still, but she had done what shed come to do. She finished off her wine and set her goblet aside. She looked to Eyrhaen as Hyle sat up, guarded hope in her eyes. Maybe they didnt feel anything for her anymore. But… Again, she coughed over the lump in her throat. I love all three of you and probably always have. When she caught herself leaning toward Tykirs warmth, she jerked back to herself. What do you say, Eyrie? Before she could curse him again, he took her mouth, properly and completely this time. Tykir shook and shattered, eyes closing on a heartshattering moan. She shivered at the feel of liquid warmth oozing out of her. Even from a distance, the man was striking. So, I know how you might feel. He mirrored her hold on his neck, squeezing her nape. She freed her other hand so she could wrap both arms securely around his neck.

  5. Dont you wish I were? He answered, without smiling, Always. What was my full intention? It cost eight million dollars. So that I may give it to the press. Arent you confusing the standards involved? Who is supporting you now? The sincerity of his voice was genuine.

  6. The drunken lemurs strike again. It’s that Dilbert time/talent schism
    -the people who think they know and the people who actually do know.

  7. The drunken lemurs strike again ie time/talent schism
    -the people who think they know and the people who actually do know.

  8. This is another disturbing issue, that of both state and federal law enforcement failing to make the necessary distinction between truly VIOLENT SEXUAL PREDATORS and those who for the most part unknowingly, engage in “unlawful sexual intercourse.” Come on. How many teenagers are in the habit of consulting the criminal statute books before having any kind of sexual contact, to make sure they are not in violation of any criminal laws? Few, if there are indeed any. I would venture to say that the majority of teenagers wouldn’t know where to FIND a criminal statute book, let alone consult one.

    To me, this failure to make such an obvious distinction is a blatant abuse on the part of law enforcement at both state and federal levels. It is an insidious way to put more people who have really done NOTHING to harm ANYONE into prison, for no other reason than to feed the beast of the prison industrial complex, which has become a rapidly-expanding business over the last ten or twenty years. It is also a way for anti-sex politicians to make a “point,” although what that point could be is beyond me. 🙁

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