Recently, the Georgia Supreme court upheld a ruling that places non-sex offenders on the sex offender registry. The ruling comes from a case where an 18-year-old man was convicted of briefly detaining a 17-year-old girl during a drug deal gone wrong. The man did not assault the girl (only one year his minor) sexually, did not molest little children, and (I’m guessing) has no pedophiliac tendencies.
But even though there is no evidence at all that this man convicted any type of sexual crime, the 2007 Adam Walsh Act provides that anyone convicted of unlawfully imprisoning a minor should be placed on the sex offender registry for life.
John Gardner is accused of killing Celsea King and suspected of killing Amber Dubois
John Gardner has been accused of the death of 17-year-old Chelsea King and suspected in the slaying of 14-year-old Amber Dubois, who disappeared early last year and whose body was recently recovered. What makes this case even more disturbing is that Gardner was a convicted sex offender who had already served a prison sentence for child molestation and imprisonment.
Yet again, we find ourselves faced with the gruesome killing of a young girl at the hands of a registered sex offender. 17-year-old Chelsea King, was recently raped and murdered at a San Diego park, and John Albert Gardner has been charged with the crime. Gardner has already been charged with the attempted rape of another young woman in the same park and was originally convicted of molesting a 13-year-old girl, ten years ago—the crime that put him is jail for almost 6 years and landed him on the sex offender registry.
It is at these times, after unspeakable events occur, that parents, community leaders, and politicians, cry out, demanding “more,” “tougher,” “stricter,” and “harder” laws concerning sex offenders. Politicians expand the definition of sex offender to include sexting teens and “Romeo and Juliet” romances and they pass laws to further isolate sex offenders and retard their recovery.
A Thin Line is an MTV campaign aimed at arming teens and parents with information on the “thin line” between public and private in our digital world. The offer resources for understanding the dangers of making too much of your information private, as well as what to do with texting stalkers and digital harassment.
Their most recent and most highly-impactful tool is a documentary (done in an MTV-like style) that follows a couple of cases of teen sexting and how the teens involved experienced horrible repercussions for their actions—from extreme harassment and embarrassment to being registered as a sex offender.
I’ve posted the entire documentary below (in 4 parts, about 45 mins total). Take a look at the videos or watch them with your teen. They could prove a good starting place for an open discussion about what is and is not appropriate in cyberspace.