Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.


Monday, August 18, 2008

The Dilution Of A Sex Offender

Making the term apply to non-sex-offenders a scary proposition

The term "sex offender" has the tendency to, quite rightfully, strike fear in parents' hearts, cause countless Web sites to track registries (complete with searchable maps), and inspire the citizenry to distribute fliers and call public meetings. And we're not making light of any of it -- the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute estimates that two of every 10 girls and one of every 10 boys will be abused by the end of their 13th year.

It is terrifying, and often has a lifetime of repercussions for the victims.

That's why diluting the term by adding a whole host of criminals to the database is a scary proposition indeed.

And that includes naked priests.

This week, a court declined to downgrade the conviction of Rev. Robert Whipkey, 53, to a petty offense of public indecency. Whipkey, a Catholic priest who has been on administrative leave from the archdiocese since his arrest, was charged with indecent exposure after being caught running naked around the Frederick High School track last June.

It was 4:30 a.m. The witness was an off-duty police officer, who followed the man home, and confronted him there.

This week, a judge ruled that the conviction was constitutional.

"Given the nature of sex offenders and the risk they pose to the community, the court finds that, for those who knowingly expose themselves to the public, it is reasonable that they are given a higher level of sanctions and registrations," Weld County Judge Timothy Kerns said.

Whipkey will be sentenced in October. He faces possible jail time and registering as a sex offender.

Years ago, he had been investigated by the archdiocese for inappropriate behavior. But not charged. And a woman testified this summer that she saw him naked 20 years ago at a camp site. Again: Not charged.

There are problems with sex offender registries going on in Colorado and nationwide right now.

When our courts add, say, a 18-year-old student who has consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend in Georgia, or a man running naked around a Weld County school track at 4:30 a.m., they risk making the term obsolete, or at least weaker than it should be.


Daily Camera Editorial

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is more of the fear mongering. How can whats referred to as indecent exposure be a SEX OFFENSE??? We have nudist beaches??? Other countrys pay no attention to bare breasted women. The term SEX Offender needs to be clarified. It should mean a person who who Forcibly Rapes a Women. That individgual should be Castrated. Then there would be no need for all this BS about registering, and all the other rules our sick public demands that can never be enforced as there all unconstitutional. Again your honor, JURISPRUDENCE, which none of you seem to have?? djw

Anonymous said...

or forcibly rapes a man or child? what about forcing oral sex or forcing them to do sexual acts? The definition needs to be thought about. As a family support worker I was often faced with this definitional dilema. If it is defined it takes away from individual cases such as when a 19 year old has sex with a 16 year old, although concentual this is also a sex offence.

Also if we know that the percentage of people who are sexually abused is so high, maybe we should start looking at breaking the cycle and possibly looking at alternatives to the current prison system???

Anonymous said...

The mental hospitals were closed in the 1980s, so "the mentally ill could be closer to their families", but reality is they were simply not funded and thrown into prison. We see them covering our streets every day.
"Promote the general welfare" is a core statement of our government for which they have failed. The government is for the corporations and we have lost control.
Drug abuse has been around for decades and continues to kill people, but corrupt justice system's goal is to keep them as slaves for the rest of their lives.
mpc

Anonymous said...

The mental hospitals were closed in the 1980s, so "the mentally ill could be closer to their families", but reality is they were simply not funded and thrown into prison. We see them covering our streets every day.
"Promote the general welfare" is a core statement of our government for which they have failed. The government is for the corporations and we have lost control.
Drug abuse has been around for decades and continues to kill people, but corrupt justice system's goal is to keep them as slaves for the rest of their lives.
mpc

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