#Savethechildren Better Sex Offender Laws to Protect our Children
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Did you know that currently in the State of Maryland, it is not against the law for a Tier III Registered Sex Offender to be alone with a minor? It is considered child neglect or endangerment to leave a young child home alone or in a car, but you can tuck a child into bed next to a convicted pedophile and walk away for the night having committed no crime. In 2017 my family fell apart when I discovered that my husband had abused one of my daughters. He was later indicted on felony child sex abuse charges, held in jail without bond, and eventually accepted a plea deal for a 10-year suspended sentence and a lifetime registration as a Tier III Registered Sex Offender. Several months ago, one of my daughters revealed that on her "supervised" visits with Daddy, the family member that was entrusted with providing the supervision was allowing her and her sister to sleep alone with Daddy. Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement got involved, eventually determining that no actual laws were broken, because it is currently not against the law for a registered sex offender to sleep alone with a child. Therefore, it is solely up to me to continue fighting as to why I refuse to allow my children to return to that previous visitation situation. It is hard enough to become a single mother of three daughters without warning, to lose 75% of your household income in one day, to try to carry your children through the most traumatic event of their lives, let alone having the additional burden of exhausting all of your energy and resources in constant battles to protect your children. The legal fees have already topped $23,000, and who knows how much higher they will get.
According to Darkness to Light, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, about one in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. There are an estimated 42 million child sexual abuse survivors currently living in the United States, and as much as we would like to think that the predators are far removed from our families, 90% of child sexual abuse victims knew their abuser. This year, there will be approximately 400,000 babies born in the U.S. that will eventually become victims of child sexual abuse unless we do something to stop it. The problem is much more wide spread than many of us would like to believe, as the statistics are drastically under reported. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only 12% of child sexual abuse is ever reported to the authorities. The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault reports that 73% of child victims don’t report the abuse for at least one year, with 45% not disclosing for at least five years. Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults, including assaults on adults, occur to children ages 17 and under.
We would like to think that we can identify someone who isn't safe, and protect our children from them, but it's not always that easy. Sometimes unsafe people look just like safe people. Sometimes the unsafe people are coaching your kid's soccer team, or at a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese, or sitting next to you in church. Once someone has been identified as unsafe, there should be laws in place to ensure they cannot have the opportunity to offend again. Currently the only restriction in the State of Maryland is that a registered sex offender cannot step foot on school property. But there needs to be more when the conviction involved a child. Abusers should not be allowed at any event designated for children, regardless of whether or not it's on school property, and they most certainly should not be legally allowed to be alone with children. Help me keep my children safe. Help me keep YOUR children safe and create boundaries to minimize the opportunity for someone convicted of abusing a child to gain access to your children. Child safety is greater than abuser rights.
Please sign this petition and share so it can reach more supporters. If this reaches other states, research the laws where you live, and if they are inadequate, message me and I will help you fight in your state, too. If you have any feedback on other avenues to pursue these laws, or even suggestions on resources for my personal family situation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for your support.
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