Juvenile Sex Offender
Boarding schools for troubled teens can focus on specific groups of offenders. Though most programs are comprehensive in scope, some teen programs will emphasize a particular behavioral concern, be it addiction, physical aggression, or crime. A rising class of juvenile offender, unfortunately, includes the juvenile sex offender.
New laws specifying sentencing of juvenile sex offenders have many authorities and legal experts concerned. Statistics indicate that juvenile sex offenders, unlike their adult counterparts, have a very low rate of recidivism. However, under a new law in Florida, under age sex offenders can be slapped with a legal child molester designation for life.
“Fourteen-year-old boys who “coerce” sex from their girlfriends soon will join adult rapists and child molesters with their names, addresses and photographs on the state’s Web site list of sex offenders.
And most will remain on the list for life, required to reregister every 90 days or face a new felony charge, because of a law the state legislature passed in the spring to comply with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection Act.”
The law presents concerns on several fronts. Since juveniles aren’t entitled to jury trials, an offending teen’s due process may be violated, warn some legal experts. Others fear parents will be hesitant to seek help for a child who may need some type of sexual counseling.
“Therapists are required to report any child abuse they learn about from victims or offenders.
“The child with the sexual behavior problems will not get help….She and other experts fear the stigma of the sex offender label will steer offenders away from the educational and social environments that would help them become productive adult members of society.”
by Ann Walker