I have advocated certain policy reforms that many would argue are "soft" on sex crimes. I've also advocated reforms that might be perceived as being unfairly "hard" on sex crimes. In each case, I may find myself agreeing with persons who I disagree with on a great many matters. This problem of the metaphorical "strange bedfellows" has long been true with sexual issues. Famously, feminists and the religious right aligned against pornography.
This problem of uniting coalitions with different agendas has recently reared its ugly head in the area of sex offender policy reform. The organization SOhopeful came to advocate a lot of changes in policy for the ways sex offenders are treated by our society. I agreed strongly with their views against the use of residency restrictions for all offenders. Unfortunately, some of the people who agreed with their agenda were also persons who would do great harm to children. These child pornographers and molesters opposed sex offender restrictions not for moral or policy reasons. Instead, they hoped to be less controlled so they could fulfill their illegal and immoral desires. To the detriment of SOhopeful, one of the latter group was the organization's executive director. From a news account:
Before he was indicted in a global child porn ring, James Freeman was a registered sex offender leading a campaign to reform Megan’s Law.
“It is illogical to present a system that tracks non-violent, one-crime one-victim, lowest-risk sex offenders as a benefit to public safety,” reads a statement at SOhopeful.org, where Freeman was listed as executive director until his indictment Tuesday.
The group emphasizes it does not excuse sex offenses or abuse. With the 47-year-old Freeman indicted on a slew of federal child porn charges, his name has been erased from the Web site. SOhopeful’s executive director position was listed as “unfilled” Friday.
Because of Freeman's indictment, the organization has disbanded. This is an unfortunate reality of a world with overlapping coalitions. Horrible and evil organizations like NAMBLA may agree with me and others about residency restrictions. That sometimes makes me feel a little guilty. But I also know that my reasons for opposing residency restrictions are because I believe the evidence supports the notion that they do not decrease sex crimes (and may actually increase them). Nonetheless, in a world of coalitions, the criminals of the world may see me as an ally. I wish it weren't true, but it is the nature of the sex-crime beast. Hopefully, organizations like SOhopeful will take more protective steps to remove the Freeman's from their midst. It is difficult to do, but it is a necessary step to prevent the discrediting of a set of policy preferences that are supported by substantial evidence.