Home > Children, Sex Radicals > Tenn. county libraries off limits to sex offenders

Tenn. county libraries off limits to sex offenders

October 12th, 2011

by Charlie Butts

Thanks to an executive order from Mayor Tim Burchett, registered sex offenders are no longer allowed at 19 Knox County libraries. Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet believes it is a sensible approach “to say that we’re going to protect our children at a library, at a place of information. We’ll keep those places safe by prohibiting registered sex offenders from coming to these libraries and transforming them into a place where they can prey on the young children.”

Harry Mihet (Liberty Counsel)A state law gives local governments the authority to enact such prohibitions, but the ACLU is complaining that it restricts a person’s right to free speech. However, Mihet argues that though that is true for the average citizen, it is not necessarily so for convicted sex offenders.

“Whenever the government has a compelling interest, it may curtail the rights of some citizens to protect the rights of others,” he points out. “And in this case, if protecting children from sex offenders is not a compelling interest, then I can’t imagine what would be.”

Liberty Counsel has reached out to assure Knox County officials that they are on solid legal footing.

Found here.

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  1. Roivas
    October 12th, 2011 at 13:24 | #1

    Does this include such sex offenders as a man who at the age of 17 had consensual sex with a 15 year old?


  2. Regan DuCasse
    October 12th, 2011 at 16:41 | #2

    I don’t have a problem with this, except that I’d like to know how a librarian would know who is who?
    Sex offenders have to comply with ordinances to stay a certain amount of feet where children are most likely to be, such as school grounds and parks.

    I guess libraries were exempt in the first place for this to be at issue to begin with. I also have to wonder if the general public really understands what sex offenders are and how they are defined?
    It’s been obvious that the public is WRONGLY told that gay men are pedophiles. So if an innocent gay man is trying to check out materials that are gay related, a over zealous librarian might try to have him removed from the library or arrested.
    If only to humiliate and out such a person. Something that the anti gay are very preoccupied with.

    It should be noted also the bias in gender and orientation that favors WOMEN pedo and ephebophiles. They typically are under the radar and convicted ones would not be recognizable.
    I wonder how the libraries plan on enforcing this. Just sayin’.

  3. October 13th, 2011 at 11:17 | #3

    Roivas, I was about to ask the same thing. Decisions like this look great on paper, but in practice a lot of people get dragged into the net who probably shouldn’t be. And it seems very problematic to me to start banning certain groups of citizens from public spaces such as libraries. As a librarian, this strikes me as misguided at best. People have a right to educate themselves and have a right to use public libraries, and those rights should only be curbed in the most dire of circumstances. Not all sex offenders are a threat to our children (and parents should be keeping an eye on their children while at the library anyway — libraries are NOT daycare centers and children should NOT be left in them unsupervised).

  4. Regan DuCasse
    October 14th, 2011 at 11:41 | #4

    Excellent point Emma, and since you’re a librarian, have you noted a trend in unsupervised children where you work? I live in Los Angeles. Probably the biggest county in all the US. Librarians have been more and more overworked because of so much excesses of dependence on them, beyond their duties.

    Similar to where teachers are forced to take over duties left to parents. We’ve gone broke, and are getting broken by such a burden. And a consequence of that also, is the release of sex offenders to our streets unsupervised as well.

    There is a lot of support for men and women making as many babies as they feel like, but apparently their sense of PARENTING falls so short they can’t even be counted on to feed their children, make them English literate or have any manners before they attend school, let alone attend public facilities like a library.

    I work in law enforcement, and in forums like this, no one seems interested in the criminal aspects regarding child neglect, abuse, pedophilia and who is responsible for the bulk of it.
    I’d be interested to hear if you’re in a big city or small one and what the trends you’re experienced with have been. I still go to the library, mostly because I don’t have the room to keep the books I buy, and I donate the ones I don’t need to hang on to.
    I’ve always got my eyes peeled. But I’m trained to.

    But it is appalling how disaffected people are about who is responsible for what, up and down the chain. But I’m with you that a librarian certainly shouldn’t be policing anyone, whether it’s a child OR a sex offender.

  5. Sean
    October 14th, 2011 at 15:26 | #5

    I stopped going to my local library on the weekends because clearly parents DO leave their kids there in order to take a break from them. Frankly, I think kids are pretty safe from anyone at a public library. There’s lots of people around. Laws like this are just political: an ambitious politician wants to create a “tough on crime” image and of course, who would defend the rights of anyone who’s harmed a child?

  6. Regan DuCasse
    October 14th, 2011 at 19:15 | #6

    Well, actually Sean, I wish I could say kids are safe at least from the point of view of safety in numbers. But criminals or those of ill intent don’t work on the radar. And people are distracted or can’t possibly know a child that well to look after them or know who they SHOULD be with.

    Sometimes even grown young adult men go missing. It cannot be taken for granted that one’s child under the age of 18 is safe anywhere.
    I’m not a parent, but I think it’s a good idea to put one of those transponders used on dogs in one’s child. And let THEM make the decision if they want to remove it once they are an adult. And frankly, I wouldn’t recommend they do that even then.
    I used to nanny professionally. And once any child in my care got their legs, I had them on a sturdy leash, that are now far more common than they were when I first started.
    I’d get people being crass about it in the stores.
    But ask the parents of a child who went missing if they don’t regret never trying that option.

    No, leaving young people unattended isn’t a good idea. Even for middle teens. Sex offenders are very clever, seductive and committed to what they do. There is always OUTSIDE of the library that’s just as good a hunting ground too.

  7. Regan DuCasse
    October 14th, 2011 at 19:17 | #7

    but your point is well taken about this particular gesture a matter of making political hay just to look good. Implementation is going to be something else again and how effective it could possibly be in the real world.

  8. Anonymous
    October 14th, 2011 at 21:49 | #8

    I actually have a relative who is a sex offender and will be released in 5 years time but only to a family member. I know he is a very good person who made some serious serious bad bad choices. He is very aware of that and has had over 20 years (in jail) to think about it. He is very involved with the Christian community where he is being held. Our family wants to do right by him but we are all terrified to take him in because of these types of public exposures. I understand why but at the same time people who have made the bad choices need to be given a chance to put their serious mistakes in the past and move on. To be positive contributors to society. But I absolutely understand that society needs to be kept on guard. What do Christian’s have to say? Any advice is welcome.

  9. Regan DuCasse
    October 15th, 2011 at 04:42 | #9

    Hello Anonymous: To be honest with you, I’ve always been very concerned with the orientation and gender bias around sex offenders. And the misinformation that continues because of serious prejudice against gay males for example and the misunderstanding the comes from misrepresentation of certain types of rape. There is also serious gender bias when it comes to FEMALE sexual predators, and little concern goes to the boys they assault. Our society takes such a thing very lightly.

    I’d need more qualifiers regarding your relative’s case. The length of his sentence means his offense was exceptionally serious. It’s important to know EXACTLY what he did to understand the risk level of recidivism.
    Sex offenders have THE highest recidivist rate of all others.
    As well as the most manipulative people. A fair assessment.
    Your relative won’t be able to be left alone with anyone, actually. He shouldn’t expect much privacy whatsoever around someone else.
    Particularly someone much younger than he is. Even a young adult.

    I also have to be very honest with you about how Christians allow serious criminals to manipulate THEM. And in turn, use their religious influence with parole boards and the residences that released criminals are put into.
    In too many cases, sex offenders, murderers…(essentially sociopaths), will use any form of pretense to get THEIR way. Sociopaths are very disciplined in that way and are willing to look engaged in religious discipline to appear reformed and redeemed.
    Former Gov. Mike Huckabee intervened on behalf of just such a criminal. Huckabee is a minister, and ministers or other members in faith communities, like to think that a person really HAS found God and deserves redemption.

    Huckabee used his office to parole a murderer, who went on to murder again. Something Huckabee keeps very quiet, but people in law enforcement know better. They understand how the minds of criminals work and try to inform well intentioned Christians not to let a fog of religious enthusiasm for having converts blind them to the purpose of a dangerous person.
    In other words, there are some Christians very unqualified to be trusted to assess a paroled criminal’s agenda.

    I know that good people can’t get their heads around the depth of evil among us. Well, actually that’s not true. They THINK they can see it. Such as in homosexuality, homosexual people, and in what homosexuals try to accomplish as far as being positive contributors to society.
    And that right there proves exactly what I mean. There are Christians more willing to forgive a paroled murderer and rapist, so that he can marry and have children and work where his interests and talent warrants.
    More than they’ll do so for a gay person that wants to do the same.

    Vigilance, serious vigilance is paramount. The family members of sex offenders can’t even do that sort of duty. And they will HAVE to.
    Because if they don’t, they may well regret it.

  10. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 at 12:06 | #10

    “Vigilance, serious vigilance is paramount. The family members of sex offenders can’t even do that sort of duty. And they will HAVE to.
    Because if they don’t, they may well regret it.”

    This is impossible for any of us to do. We have our own children to think of and this person is not our child. “they may well regret it” Quite honestly this sounds like vengeance against the offenders family. Which is exactly what it most terrifying about all of this. We are not guilty.

  11. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 at 15:42 | #11

    Also I just wanted to add that this man had same sex attraction for minors in their teens but he is not a violent person and never committed a violent crime. I cannot go into any further details. As I said, I know that he is a very good warm sensitive person and is not a socio-path. Of course you might say I can’t know that he would never do this again and this is true but then again we can’t know that about anyone, regardless of their history or the statistics. I’m not in any way trying to justify his serious bad choices or any sex offenders bad choices but painting them all with a broad brush and socially ostracising them, which also forces their families to alienate them, seems wrong to me. Their chances of redemption by being productive, honorable members of society are seriously hindered. The social isolation alone might actually create more problems than it solves. I certainly don’t have the answers.

  12. Anonymous
    October 15th, 2011 at 17:23 | #12

    Two blog here posts that relate to this topic:

    “Mero Moment: The Slippery Slope of Sexual Politics”

    I agree but like the post below says “change happens” and I do not think demonizing the person OR normalizing pedophilia is the anwser:

    “Change happens: new evidence on sexual orientation”

  13. Regan DuCasse
    October 16th, 2011 at 10:33 | #13

    @Anonymous: don’t interpret something with a victim mentality about a sex offender’s parents. Parents and their residences are in any given neighborhoods full of unsuspecting young people and THEIR parents.
    The parents of a sex offender are then complicit in helping him break his parole. And if he re-offends, THEY will be subject to the law and possible litigation by other families. This is why such offenders shouldn’t be allowed to live with their parents.
    Actually, I think they should NEVER be let out of prison.

    There was a case near San Diego of Chelsea King. She was the teenage victim of a sex offender, who’d been paroled and was living with his parents.
    There was a popular jogging track near their homes. Chelsea was raped and it turned out that another girl had been missing from the area for a year. The same man was responsible for the other girl missing, and he told the police where to find her skeletal remains.

    Had he been kept in prison for life, and for previous offenses, none of this would have happened.
    His parents, however, allowed him to live with them. Then knew there were teen girls that frequented the area, and they didn’t say anything to their neighbors. So now, and rightly, they are subject to a lawsuit.

    The Jessica Lunsford case in FL is similar. A paroled sex offender living with relatives, violating his probation or rules of his parole and associations.

    And there is no such thing as a non violent rape. Understand THAT too.
    Escalation is another risk. Just because a victim survives, doesn’t mean it wasn’t violent. Typically subsequent victims are murdered so the rapist can avoid prison.

    As I said, the nature of sex offenders is to be seductive and manipulative. Not only of their victims, but the justice system as well.

    So, whatever your relative did: living with his parents is NOT a good idea. They will very likely not be able to keep him from violating the terms of who he can keep a distance from.
    You even saying that such a comment is about vengeance is an emotional response to a practical truth.
    Justice and public safety is what this is about.
    And I just heard a young friend of mine was sexually assaulted a day ago, at gunpoint.
    Apparently not the only victim. There have been several others.

    There is absolutely NO reason to have any sympathy, trust or concern for a convicted sex offender.
    Their purpose is utterly selfish, stealthy and perniciously devastating.
    Think. Again.

  14. Anonymous
    October 18th, 2011 at 13:50 | #14

    I am thinking (again) and I strongly think people can change.
    “Robert Downey Jr asks forgiveness for Mel Gibson”

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