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Assess the risk posed by sex offenders

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

I would like to commend Sgt. Seth Janssen’s efforts to restrict sex offenders from fairs.  Having known Janssen both personally and professionally, I know he is dedicated to the ongoing protection of children.  

I agree that every effort should be made to enhance the sex offender registry laws for the purpose of protecting children. I would like to see additional proposals made.

I believe that the registry should be a risk-tiered system, as certain convicted sex offenders present a lower risk than others.

Is it fair that the 18-year-old who was convicted for having consensual sexual relations with a 16-year-old be considered as much of a risk to children as a pedophile? 

Having previously investigated child abuse cases, I often had to assess the risk a registered sex offender presented to children. One of the criteria used in assessing such risk was whether the offender had completed sex offender treatment. I was often surprised when a registered sex offender had not completed any such treatment.

I always believed that all convicted sex offenders should be required to complete treatment as a condition of being on the registry. Completion of sexual offender treatment and assessment of risk should then be on each offender’s information on the registry.

Based on the risk assessment, the offenders could then be placed on different levels of risk potential, which could also be indicated on the registry. 

People tend to see only that someone is on the registry and are not aware of the original offense or what risk an offender might present. Perhaps additional information as I have proposed would help people determine whether an offender is a risk to children.

Note to readers: Jim Faivre, who is retired, was previously employed for 25 years as a child protection advanced specialist with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

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