It is not often that I feel somewhat vindicated, but today I do. I read the following article in Newsday, Taxi decals to say drivers aren't sex offenders and in response to this article was the letter below sent into Newsday by Cynthia G. Scott who is the executive director of the Coalition against Child Abuse & Neglect. In fact, Ms. Scott is the winner of my Founding Fathers award.
Before reading her letter, this was my letter sent to her via email:
As a freelance writer who has been speaking out against registries for sex offenders for over ten years, your letter vindicates my beliefs. During these past ten years I have written to any politician that would listen, but clearly they did not. I have even written of these registries on my blog to alert all that these registries do little to protect our children. I want to congratulate Ms. Scott in her stance that registries do very little to protect our children. Her statement in part stated that the use of these registries would be “creating a false sense of security for the public” says it all. I invite you to read the numerous editorials I wrote in which I have challenged the effectiveness of Megan’s Law as being a panacea that lulls us all into a false sense of security. I would have written a letter to the editor, but lately Newsday does not print my letters.
Also during the recent supervisor’s race here in the Town of Brookhaven, the Republican candidate, Robert DiCarlo ran an article dealing with this subject on his campaign web site. In order to read my article, click on this link and scroll down to read, “Robert DiCarlo is correct in lifetime sentences for pedophiles”
Cynthia G. Scott’s letter to Newsday:
Don't depend only on registry to find sex offenders
I feel compelled to respond to "Taxi service: No sex-offenders here" [News, Nov. 9].
The article concerned me, as an advocate for victims of child sexual abuse and someone who sees the destruction it leaves in its path, that we are once again creating a false sense of security for the public.
The headline of the article alone would lead us to believe that clearing drivers through the sex-offender registry ensures there are no sex offenders driving those cabs.
This couldn't be farther from the truth. Such a claim is predicated on the fact that we believe we have caught and know who all of the offenders are. In fact, we do not know who they are.
People likely to offend against children are not those released from prison and on the registry, but rather someone the child knows and trusts and, most importantly, who hasn't been caught yet.
We have to start to understand that those who sexually offend are most likely not the "monster" on the registry but rather one among us.
Don't get me wrong. I am in favor of screening cab drivers. It is a positive step, but let's be clear: It is only a small one in addressing this issue.
In the article, the owner of Lindy's Transportation reported that he implemented the program because it makes riders feel safer.
I don't want the public to feel safer; I want them to be safer.
Solely depending on the sex-offender registry to assess risk simply is not enough.