Bill Increasing Penalties For Concealing And Harboring Sex Offenders Advances

TRENTON— Hindering the apprehension and prosecution of a sex offender attempting to evade registration and monitoring requirements under Megan’s Law would become a crime of the third degree with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison under legislation sponsored by Senator Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union).

The bill, S-622, was advanced today by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

“Those who knowingly aid a sex offender in skirting the requirements of Megan’s Law and evade authorities put our communities at risk,” said Kean. “Given the rate of recidivism among convicted sex offenders and the heinous nature of their crimes, those who harbor these individuals must also be held accountable. The public has a right to know when sex offenders are inhabiting their communities, and those who stand in the way of that right deserve to be brought to justice.”

The legislation is derived from a portion of the Jessica Lunsford Act, a bill that has languished for years in the legislature toughening penalties on those convicted of lewd and lascivious acts involving children. Kean is also the prime sponsor of the Jessica Lunsford Act.

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3 comments for “Bill Increasing Penalties For Concealing And Harboring Sex Offenders Advances

  1. njvoices
    March 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    The rates are lower then most other crimes. And a good majority of the “sex offenders” he is referring to, are children that have been stigmatized by the laws because they may have acted irresponsibly.
    Sex offender issues are not black and white, they are very very Gray and it scares me to think that someone who is in control of our lives can say things with ignorance and just assume he’s right. If he is a supporter of these laws, shouldn’t he know EVERYTHING about them?

    My question to Senator Kean is:

    what do you think the rate of recidivism is among convicted sex offenders? Maybe you should try reading some of the studies before you speak and sound so foolish. Here I’ll help you get started:

    Recidivism rates

    A 2002 study by the United States Department of Justice indicated that recidivism rates among sex offenders was 5.3%; that is, about 1 in 19 of released sex offenders were later arrested for another sex crime. The same study mentioned that 68% of released non-sex offenders were rearrested for any crime (both sex and non-sex offenses), while 43% of the released sex offenders were rearrested for any crime (and 24% reconvicted).[2]
    A collection of official studies spanning the years 1983 to 2010 across all 50 states and the federal government has been assembled [3]. This URL provides a spreadsheet and .zip file containing sources supporting the DOJ study, where the average recidivism of sex offenders committing new sex crimes since 1983 is approximately 9%, compared to the 42% average recidivism rate for all felony offenders committing any new felony offense.
    According to the Office of Justice Programs of the United States Department of Justice,[3] in New York State the recidivism rates for sex offenders have been shown to be lower than any other crime except murder. Another report from the OJP that studied recidivism of prisoners released in 1994 in 15 states accounting for two-thirds of all prisoners released in the United States that year,[4] reached the same conclusion.
    In 2007, the State Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina made significant changes to its sex offender registration system, including new search criteria that include an “offender status” search, enabling an explicit search for convicted sex offense recidivists in the sex offender database. Manual searches by county using the new criteria yield some of the lowest recidivist percentages ever disseminated by any law enforcement establishment. In the entire State of North Carolina, there are only 71 recidivists shown on the registry, if incarcerated offenders are included. Per-county results for “Registered” status offenders compared against “Recidivist” status offenders on the North Carolina registry yield actual convicted recidivist percentages ranging from zero to fractions of one percent.[5]

    here are some links if you would like to read more:

    • njvoices
      March 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      One of our advocates contacted Senator Keans office here is what he was told:

      They claim they don’t have the numbers “handy” and “nobody bought that up in committee.” I said the press is misleading, she got flustered. I also asked about how many times RSO’s have been harbored in NJ, she said it happens all the time. I asked for a specific instance, she became flustered (more) and said they “stand by the bill.”

      I don’t know about “that it happens all the time.” Now its possible for the families of SO’s to get in trouble for helping them. When the crazy unconstitutional laws start branching out to the families I worry about the state of our country. Someone please tell me what harboring means to the legislation because here is what webster says :

      harbor – First meant “shelter” and “lodging,” and that is how the word first entered English place-names, as a “place of shelter; refuge” for a crowd of people. A port is a haven for vessels and it is equipped for loading and unloading ships, while a harbor is a haven for vessels but does not necessarily have onshore facilities.

      but theres more!
      Noun 1. harbor – a sheltered port where ships can take on or discharge cargo
      harbour, seaport, haven
      docking facility, dockage, dock – landing in a harbor next to a pier where ships are loaded and unloaded or repaired; may have gates to let water in or out; “the ship arrived at the dock more than a day late”
      landing place, landing – structure providing a place where boats can land people or goods
      seafront – the waterfront of a seaside town
      port – a place (seaport or airport) where people and merchandise can enter or leave a country
      coaling station – a seaport where ships can take on supplies of coal
      port of call – any port where a ship stops except its home port
      anchorage ground, anchorage – place for vessels to anchor
      2. harbor – a place of refuge and comfort and security
      asylum, sanctuary, refuge – a shelter from danger or hardship
      Verb 1. harbor – maintain (a theory, thoughts, or feelings); “bear a grudge”; “entertain interesting notions”; “harbor a resentment”
      nurse, entertain, harbour, hold
      feel, experience – undergo an emotional sensation or be in a particular state of mind; “She felt resentful”; “He felt regret”
      2. harbor – secretly shelter (as of fugitives or criminals)
      shelter – provide shelter for; “After the earthquake, the government could not provide shelter for the thousands of homeless people”
      3. harbor – keep in one’s possession; of animals
      keep, hold on – retain possession of; “Can I keep my old stuffed animals?”; “She kept her maiden name after she married”
      4. harbor – hold back a thought or feeling about; “She is harboring a grudge against him”
      shield, harbour
      conceal, hide – prevent from being seen or discovered; “Muslim women hide their faces”; “hide the money”

      So harboring in secret (under verb part 1) I can see but harboring in general? LETS MAKE THEM BE MORE SPECIFIC otherwise people, the reality is, anyone who grants a sex offender shelter can be arrested according to the way this bill is worded! Be careful what you wish for!


    • Micah Allen
      March 11, 2012 at 3:25 am

      Once again, an unscrupulous politician uses the Registered Sex Offender issue to get votes by citing myths and outright lies regarding the recidivism rate of sex offenders. The truth is that registered sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country.
      Here are the facts:
      87% of all new reported sex offenses are committed by someone who is not a registered sex offender. And of those who did reoffend, not one of them contacted their victim near a school, daycare, playground, excreta. A study reviewing sex crimes reported that 93% of child sex abuse victims knew their abuser. 34.2% were family members. 58.7% were acquaintances. Only 7% were strangers. In short, the stranger danger slogan is a myth. Systically speaking, a child has far more to fear from a family member or close friend then she does from a registered sex offender.
      Now we turn to the question of why a person might avoid registering. The reasons are fairly simple. Despite common, misguided belief, it is not so they can be left unobserved so they can reoffend. The true reason for most noncompliance is because they have no choice. They are either hassessed and chased out of every neighborhood they move into. Or in many cases they cannot find a place to live at all because no one will rent to them or residency restrictions make it impossible to find a place to live legally. They don’t register because their choice is register and be homeless or harassed along with their family or go underground.
      Now many will say that they deserve this treatment. But ask yourself this. Are we truly safer by making laws those outcast registered sex offenders? Who do you think is more likely to reoffend? A person who is allowed to go on with his life or the person who is made to feel he has nothing to live for.
      The bottom line is that this whole issue is responded to by emotions, but by doing so, nobody is being made safe. It’s an illusion made up by the ratings hungry media and political predators like Senator Tom Kean. You can always tell when it’s election year. That’s when these predators start trying to enact even more laws that will only make the situation worse.
      If you want to protect your children, then be a responsible parent and supervise them properly. Know where they go and who they associate with. But don’t think for one moment these ridiculous laws make us safer. Also not all registered sex offenders have child victims despite what the media would have you believe. So treating and painting all sex offenders with the same brush achieves nothing but help political predators like Tom Kean stay in office.

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