Op-Ed: A Frightening Cycle
The number of Sex Offenders is still on the rise and a cycle is frightfully manifesting itself. In the past fifteen-twenty years it had been middle aged men 25-45y/o who were charged as sex offenders against children. For the past 10 years it has progressed on to elderly men ranging from 50-90 y/o. I know of 3 female sex offenders that have been sentenced and one female charged on sexual abuse. Now closing the gap on sex offenses are teenage young men that are engaging young male children in sexual activities.
In the center of the cycle are the victims.
Sexual violence against children has no boundaries. It has unmercifully clawed its way to the physically and mentally challenged children. In this manifestation of sexual crimes against our children is the introduction of pornography, drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoking, language to include copy cat behaviors.
It is believed by many psychologists and impressed upon in court by the Public Defenders, that sexual child rapists were sexually abused as children. On the flip side, the Department of Justice suggests that children who commit sex crimes are far more likely to repeat the offense as an adult. Be as it may, who can argue against these learned academics of the mind. In American Samoa we are being exposed to detailed heinous sexual crimes against our children. The offenders are becoming more creative, bold and reckless in defiance of the Law.
If what the psychiatrists are claiming is true, I cannot help but think how dismal this island will be in 20 years. A whole legion of sexually abused and violated children to include physically abused children will in turn become the future sex offenders, violators and thru domestic violence, destroyers of whole aiga. We must invest in our victimized children’s mental health.
The reality we are faced with, is that imprisoned sex offenders will be eligible for parole after serving only 1/3 of their 5, 10, 15, or 30 years sentences. They will go from jail straight into the community.
How do we prevent, slow down and stem the tide of repeat offenders? Here’s an alternative.
1. The Government thru Dept. of Health and Court ordered, must provide mandatory Psychiatric evaluations and long term counseling for sex offenders while incarcerated.
These evaluations and counseling should be a pre-condition continuation, also for those who have received probation or are to be paroled. (we must provide professional mental health rehabilitative treatment programs for our inmates and their victims)
2. These criminals must be transitioned out before reuniting back into the community.
3. Pass the SORNA Sex Offenders Registration Notification Act.
Thank you and congratulations to Director of Education Vaitinasa Salu Hunkin Finau for taking a proactive stand for our children on implementing a long overdue policy on Ethical Codes for Teachers Towards Students. This is a stand the Multi Disciplinary Team against Family Violence (MDT) in partnership with DOE have been trying for years to encourage them to make, by providing training.
Let’s work with our Faipule and Senators to support the Child Abuse Law to include revisiting the Parole Law on the eligibility criteria.
(This article contains the opinion of the writer alone. She alone takes full responsibility for her thoughts.)