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Juvenile Sex Offenders

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FC: Juvenile Sex Offenders | Author/Illustrator: Audrey Scott Publication date: 12/6/12 Location of Publication: Stillwater, OK

1: Preface | Deciding the perfect research topic can be hard; but for me I knew exactly what topic I wanted to write about, juvenile sex offenders. I want to major in this area so having the opportunity to start learning things now was perfectly fine with me. First off the word juvenile means under the age of eighteen, where if a juvenile commits a crime they are supposed to be charged as juveniles and not adults. This topic is very controversial because for certain crimes that these kids are committing are so intense and wrong that they truly should be charged as adults and have to deal with the charges as adults. There is a national law in place stating that at the age of fourteen if the crime is more than aggravated sexual abuse the juvenile can be charged in the adult system and go through the system as an adult sex offender. The severity of the crime will depend on the amount of years they receive; it starts at three years, and then follows to ten years and lastly the sentence is lifetime.

2: This is very controversial for parents, teachers, and others because of how low the age is. I am taking the side for this research project as I believe that this is right and should continue to be handled this way because the crimes these juveniles are committing are so intense that they deserve to be punished at adults for trying to get out of their age group and do something so morally wrong to another human being. In my presentation I’ll have an Interview with the head Tulsa news anchor who reports these crimes on a daily basis. My person of impact will be my sister-in-law who is a child abuse physiologist who works with juveniles with therapy as well the abused from being harmed by other kids or adults. | Continued..

3: Table of Contents | Background Information....................4-6 Important event........................................7/8 Interview......................................................9-12 Impacted Person...............................13/14 Important theme/issue...........................15 Response...................................................16 Work Cited Page....................................17

4: Background Information | . | I choose this topic for my senior research project because I have always been intrigued by the laws in place for these juveniles, and how the court system worked with the different types of crimes involved. Juvenile sex offender is a very strong subject and not every case is the same. Every juvenile has a different story and different backgrounds that lead up to their lives now. This issue has always been around and it has just started to up rise in the last ten to fifth-teen years. Tulsa news anchor and crime reporter, Lori Fullbright, thinks the up rising has a big part to do with the way social networking has changed and progressed. More kids then ever have access to the Internet by computers, phones, and other electronic devices. The public does not keep things as quiet either. Parents leave inappropriate magazines lying around, some don’t monitor what their kids have access to on their phones, computers, and TV’s. A big part of it is genetics and the difference between males and females; 90 percent of juvenile sex crimes are committed by males. Males have a different mind set and are more sexually driven at a young age. Sadly, some juveniles fall under bad situations simple because they were abused as children and that was how their minds were set.

5: Continued... | They became damaged and simply learned no different then to act that way. That is why treatment is so important. It is said to be proven as a way to turn around kids and get them on the right track to living as healthy adults, and putting their past behind them. Sometimes even with treatment the juvenile is too far gone to respond to treatment the way the doctors would like. That is when you will start to see multiple offenses under their name. As low as four-teen with multiple offenses a juvenile can go to jail for their crimes and be charged as adults. This is controversial for parents; because parents want to protect their children. What they need to realize is this is what they deserve and what they need, and it is a law and you can not fight it. You will not win. Once a juvenile doesn’t respond to treatment and continues to act out there is nothing more the court system can do. It is their duty to protect anyone they are harming and justify them. If it is the juvenile’s first offense but it is bigger then sexual harassment and the juvenile and his or her parents agree to treatment they will be placed in a treatment facility for the duration given by the court. After the juvenile has gone through treatment and released from The Department of Juvenile Justice Services, administers will either have the juvenile on probation or a safety watch with continued aftercare; such a continued therapy with a physiologist.

6: The court system is starting to take this seriously due to the low age these kids are acting out at. It is one thing to smoke pot, do drugs, and steal; but it is a different ball game when you are raping someone, beating them up, sending and receiving pornography, as well as many other offenses. The court system has to react differently to each crime and decide how to go further depending on the severity just like the adult system. What parents need to realize and take in to account is these are kids they still have the rest of their lives to live; if the justice system can keep them out of jail and on the right track then that is what needs to happen regardless of the consequences. | Continued... |

7: Important Event | In 1981 a little boy named Adam Walsh was kidnapped from a mall. 16 days later he was found murdered. Twenty-five years later to the day President Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. This act was put into place to expand the National Sex Offender registry as well as strengthen federal penalties for crimes against children. This national law is still in place today and continues to improve and grow as more states add the act into their own laws and regulations. The act has many rules and regulations but one that intrigued me was the way they handle the levels of abuse and how they rule out how to register these criminals. There are three levels that the justice system goes of to determine the amount of time each person is registered as a sex offender.The first is tier one and the sentence last between ten-fifth-teen years, while they are on this sentence the offender has to check in with the court once a year to update all personal things such as living, license, and any court records and offenses. The second tier last twenty-five years and during the time of the sentence the offender must check in with the court system every two-six months. Some examples for tier two are sex trafficking, abusive sexual contact, prostitution, or any form of pornography. And lastly tier three is a lifetime sentence where the offender has to check in with the court system every three months. Some examples of tier three would be kidnapping of a minor, sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and murder.

8: Continued... | At four-teen years of age if the juvenile commits a crime greater than sexual abuse they can be charged with one of the three tiers even though they are a juvenile. These juveniles do not get special treatment in any way. They must register the same way and for the same amount of time as adults who register in each tier. Each year the act adds new things to improve the system to bring justice to the people. Without this act in place who knows what laws each state would have. This act shows how serious this issue has become. The act was signed by the president in 2006 that was seven years ago and to this day the act is still being used on a daily basis nationwide. The improvements will continue to grow and hopefully not only will the court system get tougher; but the school systems will as well. If students were required to take a class over juvenile crime topics maybe it will help. Maybe it will be enough to put some of these kids on the right track. The court system and schools need to get on the same page and do something about this and make improvements and not let this get more out of hand then it already is. |

9: Interview w/ Lori Fulbright | 1.Q: Do you believe that juvenile sex offenders should be charged for their crimes as adults? A: “I believe it does depend on the crime, if it involves a stranger that they have never meet then yes, if it’s a first offense with someone they know then no.” 2.Q: Do you believe juvenile offenders should be placed in a treatment program after an offense? A: “Yes, if it involves violence; if it doesn’t involve violence I would say therapy, and counseling.” 3.Q: How can you identify an offender? A: “If the juvenile is vocal about sex in class; quick to show pictures, pornography and anyone who doesn’t understand the word no.” 4.Q: Do you feel that the issue of juvenile sex offenders is becoming a bigger issue? A: “I think it is becoming worse, I’ve done this for 21 years, I’ve seen it all. It’s also the level of access the kids have now a days in society.” 5.Q: Do you believe juveniles can change? A: “Yes, I think in the possibility of intense treatment the can be treatable and be “changed”. Part of the problem is offenders are being sent back to the same environment they came from for example bad family life."

10: 6.Q: Being in the reporting world, how do you feel about reporting these subject matters? A: “I think it’s very important to inform everyone on the matters. Having knowledge helps fix. It’s different for me because of protecting the children and parents. As reporters we have to be careful, because of labels.” 7.Q: Why do you think the percentages for sex offenses are higher for males? A: “Part of it is genetics, boys are more sexually driven then girls. Society also has a huge impact on these kids; just look how easy it is to get on the Internet, or access books with images and everything else.” 8.Q: What age do you think juveniles should be charged as adults? A: “I think some juveniles should absolutely be charged as adults, but not all cases are the same. I think the court system needs to base their decisions by case.” 9.Q: How do you feel about the state having a website for the public to access with a list of convicted juvenile offenders? Good idea? A: “I think it is a good idea, but I don’t think it would satisfy society. Not all juveniles should be on the website, some kids do deserve to be on it if they had more then one offense. It’s truly all about balance.” | Continued...

11: 10.Q: Why do you think the misdemeanor and felony percents are higher then sex offenses in youths? A: “I don’t think that many juveniles are running around with sex crimes. It’s more of kids smoking weed, breaking into houses.. I believe most kids do smaller crimes because for the most part it doesn’t involve harm to others face to face.” 11.Q: How do you feel about the state coming up with laws to help prevent the uprising of juvenile offenders? A: “I would be thrilled, I believe our laws aren’t strict enough, our laws are just a spinning door to get kids out of trouble for the time being. They need to do something but it’s also expensive but would be worth it in the end.” 12.Q: What would be morally right for a child; jail time or a treatment program away from home? A: “If they are eight-teen and have had multiple offenses as juveniles then I would say jail, if they were four-teen or fifth-teen I’d say treatment to try and help change them. If they are over fifth-teen and have a history or violence then straight to jail.” 13.Q: Do you know any programs in Oklahoma that offer safety homes for at risk children of sex offenders? A: “Right now all I know of is DHS going in and removing the offender and put them into jail, or treatment.” | Continued...

12: 14.Q: How can you tell if a child will be affected by sexual abuse? A: "I don't know some people show signs very young like between five and six. Some ways for parents and teachers to know is they don't form bonds with others, abuse animals. And sadly some kids you can't tell at all which make it a lot harder." 15.Q: Can you be registered as a sex offender under the age of eight-teen? If so does that carry over into where you can live and work? A: "In Oklahoma there are three tiers (3year sentence, 10 year sentence, and a lifetime) each tier depends on the level of offense through the system is which you have to register." | Continued...

13: Impacted Person | My person of impact is my sister-in-law Pholile Dlamini-Scott. Pholile is a true inspiration and I aspire to be like her. Her story is one anyone will be intrigued to know about. Pholile was born in Swaziland, a small kingdom landlocked by South Africa. At a young age Pholile had to start taking care of her younger siblings and really step up at a young age. In high school Pholile vollunterred through her school to a program, where she worked with a group of orphans in a local hospital, most of whom had various physical and developmental challenges. As part of a group of students, she visited with the orphans on a weekly basis providing services that ranged from educational to leisure activities. This experience prompted her initial consideration for a career in child centered social services. Out of high school she decieded to take the next step in her carreer goals and s moved to Florida after being accepted at the Universtiy of South Florida. She decided to continue her studies and entered the graduate program at the American School of Professional Psychology (Florida) to obtain my PsyD., . Pholile’s most recent placement was in a low income community in New Jersey, where she had the ability to succesfully work with children and families from the toughest neighborhoods.

14: Her expereinces working as a therapist and evaluator for children and their families has taught her that behaviors have varied causes, environmental and biological. Each child is different and not one case is the same; so they way of approaching the matters are always different. Pholile has been through the thick and the thin with kids that have suffered from child abuse and other crimes to children. She says it is very rewarding in the end to be able to look at those kids and know she has helped them in some way or another. “What I love about being a psychologist is being able to help and support people in learning healthier ways of relating to others and the world around them, in addition to learning from them alternative ways of viewing the same issues.” Pholile Dlamini-Scott I think what Pholile does is truly amazing, without people like her these kids that suffer from abuse wouldn’t get the treatment they need to move on and accept and help change their lives in the future. It takes a special type of person to be able to handle the situations these kids go through and be able to help get them through the hard times. | Continued...

16: Having chosen this topic for my senior research paper was a great choice. I was very interested in the laws that were in place for these juveniles as well as what were the consequences for certain offenses. I learned the national laws for juveniles as well as information on the different types of assaults that juveniles are committing. There is such a wide variety of crimes and these juveniles aren’t realizing the consequences that will occur with that type of behavior. Being able to talk to a news reporter as well as a child physiologist that I have a relationship with really helped me understand how important it is to treat these kids while they are young to try and give them hope that they can change and not continue to go down the path of becoming a sex offender. . After doing this project I have mixed emotions on how I feel about these kids. My heart goes out to some of them that suffered abuse themselves, but at the same time they choose to continue that path and damage others not just themselves so I am undecided on how I feel about these juveniles. I think treatment centers for these kids are a great idea and need to be offered in every state. Without being informed and having the option for help I feel these kids will not have a chance. After talking to Lori Fullbright in my interview it became very apparent that if the state doesn’t start doing something this issue will continue to grow and families will start seeing a lot more on the news and in newspapers about kids being put into jail and having to register as sex offenders as low as four-teen. | Response

17: Work Cited | Bode, Janet. The Voices of Rape. New York: F. Watts, 1990. Print. Burke, Susan. “JUVENILES WHO SEXUALLY OFFEND: Special Considerations For A Population Difficult To Define.” Corrections Today 74.4 (2012): 66. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. “H.R. 4472--109th Congress: Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.” (database of federal legislation). 2005. December 5, 2012

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  • Title: Juvenile Sex Offenders
  • Senior Research Project
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  • Published: over 5 years ago