Robert Winner


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Debate: Lifetime "sex offender" brand for teenagers

A California 14 year old girl has been assigned to the life registery for sex offenders. She sent a photo of her exposed breast to another teen via her cell phone. Under California law she sent sexually explicit materials to a minor and that in a sex crime.

I am all for life time "brands" for sexual preditors, rapists, etc .... My question is ... does the bad judgement of a teenager qualify her to be listed among the bad of the bad for life. Are there degrees of conduct that could be considered or is the one size fits all the right way to go.

  • Nov 5 2012: It's a one size fits all world, I always thought so based on three things, its cheaper, it generates less thought and it allows for those who choose, to get away with anything...right or wrong it all evolves from a lack of responsibility by those in charge and the ones who created this sexually revved up and focused world...the male population, which as guys we all deny but agree it is male dominated, so where did the focus on sex come from...I know woman right?

    Firstly, I am not aware of this story, however my thoughts are, there should be considerations, sadly it certainly would not be the only example. Maturity is a natural cycle, no one should be held guilty of it!

    Good point on the hiding remark.
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    Nov 5 2012: I think the real problem is that if you fill the register with under age sexters and 18 year old boys who have sex with their girlfriend 2 days before her 16th birthday the mass of names will hide the true predators.
  • Steve C

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    Nov 9 2012: Sad, sad, sad. It seems that kids are no longer being protected - just politicized. And when that politicization can be powered-up, any kid gets thrown under the bus as well.
    Of course she shouldn't have such a label! What kind of person would think to convict her, or allow her to-be convicted?!
    I leave you with this related quote: "Of all the galaxies above and flowers below, there is nothing more beautiful in this universe than a mother feeding her baby. Calling that obscene shows a sick mind and heart and a warped society that would if they could ban flowers because they are sex organs.
    If you want to ban the obscene, ban Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and all the TV preachers." ~Posted by: garethharris
  • Nov 5 2012: I am abhorred that a minor who's brain is no where near having a fully developed frontal lobe, should she be punished This severly. sure there are consequences to our actions good or bad and humans learn from the reaction to our decisions but to give a 14 year old a scarlet letter for the rest of her life for a photo sent no matter what it showed I think the policy should be

    But to play devils advocate, would people react the same if the gender roles was reversed and it was a Male who was a minor sending these type images to female minor?
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      Nov 7 2012: Michele, I agree and suggested that documentation should be made and after repeated offenses the person has demonstrated that they require harsher sanctions. For those who learn and grow from their mistakes should not be "branded".

      Your role reversal is a valid observation and and I used it in my reply to David. We all want to protect our little girls. This certainly demonstrates how much times have changed. At the age of seventy I would be much more harsh against the male offender. My old world culture/morals/ethics are showing.

      One of my major concerns would be that the picture will sooner or later be shared .. when this occurs how will the young lady react .... this could be from indifference to suicide ... Then people like yourself in social work and a background in medical will have to try to piece the life back together.

      Thanks for the reply and the observations. All the best. Bob.

      P.S. Good luck in your studies.
  • Nov 4 2012: Whaaat? This is no debate! Everyone seems to be agreeing with each other.

    Just for that, I'll disagree with everything everyone has written, including myself, from earlier.

    There! That will teach her to expose herself to innocent children! Think of the adults who might have happened to see this picture too! If I had happened to have even glanced at this picture, *I* would have been persecuted for being a sex offender!
  • Nov 3 2012: "A California 14 year old girl has been assigned to the life registery for sex offenders. She sent a photo of her exposed breast to another teen via her cell phone. Under California law she sent sexually explicit materials to a minor and that in a sex crime."

    Only in America...
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      Nov 5 2012: Or possibly Australia. NSW has the same law.
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    Nov 7 2012: "Public Urination", which, in reality, is rarely public, usually behind a tree etc... also falls into this category. We are definately over reacting here. To me, actual rapists, and pedophiles, deserve the brand sex offender. Kids hooking up in a public park after it closes, or urinating behind a corner, or sending a picture to a guy they like... should not be branded sex offenders. They should be branded "HEY YOU! Quit that nonsense, and get out of here!"
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      Nov 7 2012: David, As always you make a good point. I would suggest that there is a need for documentation. I agree that the scarlet letter for a fist offense is overboard ... but the idea that there should be no consequences infers to me that we are saying that it was ok. Documentation could be in many forms ... but after so many warnings, tickets, etc .. then we can assume that the person has not got the message and is deserving of a harsher penality. That could only occur if we have a record of these events.

      Just my personal thought here ... Once that picture leaves your phone you have no control over it .... the 14 year old who shared something special with her boy friend will most likely also share it with many more people .... When you return to school many people will know, how will the person handle that situation that reaction could be from indifference to suicide ... These pictures are forever .. later in life someone will bring up every error you have made in your life for various reasons. Also I do not think that there is anyone at the age of 14 up does not understand the difference of right and wrong. They do things because they want to. The ones who learn and grow from their mistakes deserve to escape the "branding" but I still think that documentation should be a part of the process.

      Michele Hames made a valid question ... what if it were a minor male sending the pictures to a minor female? I think she is right the reaction would have been much stronger and most likely upheld the branding. We all want to protect our little girls. Shows how much things have changed.

      As always, thanks for the reply. Bob.
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        Nov 7 2012: I'm not against documentation, or even fines... I just think these used to be issues for parents, or a security guards yell. There has to be somewhere between that and sex offender most sane people could agree on.

        Michele's question is interesting... and that you support her point is also interesting. Personally, I would suggest that most men would think "boys will be boys", he was being a dumb punk... Maybe men and women would both swap sides nowadays though. Personally I think gender is irrelevant, and young attractive women are some of the most powerful and influential creatures on the planet, so I don't think they really need special protection... I'm probably a total outlier in thinking that nowadays though.
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          Nov 7 2012: David, I agree ... In my generation we were taught to be protective of women and later I become a father of girls which added to my view which you expressed interest in. I was already culturally "trained" by the time womens lib came along.

          We all are a result of our upbringing and we also have the ability to change. To some degree I have changed but down really deep I am protective of my girls and women in general. Being a "Daddy" does make a difference.

          Interesting that you say .. "used to be a parent issue". In my small town my transgressions made it to my parents ears before I made it home. I doubt if many people even know their neighbors name in todays world. If it was really bad the local police took me home and turned me in to my parents ... not a good thing. So maybe the family unit has become a part of this problem. Get a spanking at school .. you could bank on a second one at home. Go to church and everyone knew your business and you had a week or two that you were the target of the town humor. In a way we were raised by the town. Today we are a number. This teen is a stastic not a person to the system.

          I bet that you open doors for women .... LOL. David .. only young and attractive women can be powerful and influential .. That is a pretty narrow window and I am somewhat surprised but probally does reflect the generation X thinking.

          As to the issue we are in agreement.

          Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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    Nov 4 2012: Maybe the rationale used by California voters who allowed their representatives to make this law was, "If we don't make a example of this behavior it is likely that social media will become a hotbed of pornography." What they seem to have overlooked is the age of the perpetrator. This law needs amendment. As an aside, we have face recognition technology, why not other body part recognition technology used to make such transmissions impossible?
    • Nov 4 2012: "why not ... make such transmissions impossible?"

      Some of is happen to like such transmissions! The issue was not pornography. The issue here was only that a minor received it.

      What you suggest sounds like the Taliban solution ;-)
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        Nov 4 2012: Taliban? Really? You sir have jumped to a conclusion. I did not advocate making all such transmissions impossible. I merely proposed the idea of using technology to make them impossible in circumstances where they would be inappropriate or illegal. Do you view parental control of TV and Internet as Taliban solutions?
        Also, your restructuring of my words by combining "why not" with "make such transmissions impossible" looks a lot like contextomy which is a fallacy of logic.
        • Nov 4 2012: Ah! You meant it like parental controls. I thought you meant it as a solution for everyone. I misunderstood the scope of your "such". That is not a logical fallacy -- as I did not omit the context of the deleted words "other body part recognition technology used" even in my own usage of "such" :-)
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    Nov 3 2012: It will soon be impossible to go about normal life without breaking some crazy law; from using the wrong dustbin to taking photos of our children. I think that for every law passed they should rescind two old ones. We should not pay politicians to make laws.
    This is a childhood prank, not a crime. A spank may be in order, but no doubt I will go on the child abuse register for suggesting such a thing. It's us that votes for these people, who else can we blame ?

    • Nov 3 2012: Using the wrong dustbin is already against the law where I live. And I like it :-) I have come across fines of about 80€ for that. On the bright side, people make that mistake only once in their lifetimes.

      But of course, I agree with the essence of your argument.
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    Nov 3 2012: the state understands a dozen of categories, the world has seven billion as of now. even the lowest of the scum has more advanced morals than the state has. we should give back judgment to the people.

    more on the issue:
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    Nov 3 2012: So we need a nanny app as well as a nanny state or does the system need to come up with a teenage OS systems for their phones, each year they age the OS unlocks a part of the system that becomes available to them? It might work as it will change the direction of flashing and hacking big systems to just the phone system.
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    Nov 3 2012: This reminds me of the 3 strike law in that hearings are decided by a policy and bypass professionals in favor of rule by the tyranny of the majority.
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      Nov 3 2012: Pat, I got this from KTLA a local LA new station. I went to their web site and then to special reports and there was the video it is about three minutes and the attorney discusses the 14 year old on the life list. It is a interesting story.

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        Nov 3 2012: No doubt the mother who started this suffered an unspeakable tragedy. However the trial is meant to be heard and decided by judges not mindless policies.

        I would think that aggressive prosecutors and detectives push this to be able to get whatever brownie points they can get.
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        Nov 3 2012: Why are these "children" being prosecuted under this law, when they give violent criminals plea bargains
        This is not what the law was intended for.
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        Nov 3 2012: Robert

        How much of this problem is caused by prosecutors who push plea bargaining to bolster their record?
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          Nov 4 2012: There is probally a combination of many factors. As you say prosecuters, cyber police, the mother groups, and the biggests two factors I can think of near elections and upcoming budget fights.

          The little girl is more than likely a political casuality.

          After the elections they may revisit these calls. It would be political poison to challenge the laws or make any waves at this time.
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    Nov 3 2012: This, Robert, sounds too absurd to be true. I suspect this is an error, or the report of it is in error. I am sure minors are baring themselves not just by cellphone but in person to other minors all the time.
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      Nov 3 2012: Fritzie, The report came from KTLA news in LA. I went to their web site and under special reports was the video I am refering to. The attorney in her discussion tells of the 14 year old who is on the life list.

      They also state, as did you, that this is a common occurance for teens to do this.

      Ther are 4 states that have a life time sex offender list and California being one.

      Thanks for the reply. I found it amazing also. Bob.