A man who admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old girl last year is facing 10 years in prison if an Allen County judge accepts a plea agreement next month.
That’s the latest local story about child sex offenders to make the news. This 25-year-old man was accused of having sex multiple times with a girl who told him she was 15.
Some sex offenders find willing victims, which is no excuse under the law, of course. The more frightening stories are of men and women who sexually abuse small children.
In a chilling 2010 story, for example, a 38-year-old Fort Wayne man was sentenced to 45 years in prison for molesting a 5-year-old girl. This was the monster, who, according to court documents, in 2003 broke into the victim’s home, found her sleeping on the floor, carried her off, put her in a van, sexually assaulted her, strangled her until she passed out, then covered her with mud.
But instead of dying, the little girl woke up and wandered into someone’s yard. She had to have surgery to repair her injuries.
The list of Indiana sex offenses includes rape, child molesting, kidnapping, incest, sexual misconduct with a minor and more. The severity of the offenses often depend on the ages of the offenders and their victims and the use of force.
Many convicted sex offenders live and work within our communities. They may have done their time in prison, and, like anyone who has paid for their crimes, have a chance to rejoin society. Convicted sex offenders have their names and addresses on a registry for all to see. And it’s perhaps both comforting and alarming to know whether a registered sex offender may live near children you love.
In checking Indiana’s sex offender registry (www.icrimewatch.net/indiana.php), I found that 18 registered offenders live with a half-mile of the Fort Wayne residence of five of my grandchildren. One lives a block away, and a site with multiple offenders is less than two blocks away. There are five registered sex offenders in a two-mile radius of two other grandchildren in a small area town. Two of those live on the same street.
A study on adult sex offender recidivism published in 1994 by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy offered the following conclusions: 1. Recidivism rates vary among different types of sex offenders. Rapists, for example, have higher recidivism rates than child molesters. 2. Sex offenders with a criminal history have higher recidivism rates than sex offenders convicted for the first time. 3. Some sex offenders, such as child molesters, may reoffend many years after an initial sex offense, meaning that their deviant sexual behavior may be a life-long problem.
According to a survey at the end of 2010, there were more than three quarters of a million registered sex offenders in the United States. But not all sex offenders have been convicted, and many have not yet found their first victims.
We must all be aware of potential sex offenders among us and keep our eyes open and our doors locked in the interest of protecting our children.