Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Confronting Pedophilia Hysteria Head On: Former Child Sex Offender Richard Wagner Jones Running For School Board Seat In Salt Lake County

Here's a guy who's got a set of stones the size of basketballs. A former child sex offender who's still on his state's sex offender registry is running for a local school board seat in Utah. One of his objectives is to confront head on the growing pedophilia hysteria sweeping the country which hinders the ability of sex offenders to successfully re-integrate into society and which is even driving completely innocent men away from mentoring or otherwise getting involved with kids.

Richard Wagner Jones is challenging incumbent Dan Lofgren for the first precinct seat on the Granite School District's Board of Education in suburban Salt Lake County. But Jones is on Utah's sex offender registry, because in 1990, he was convicted of sexual abuse of a then-14-year-old girl, a second-degree felony, as a result of a plea bargain. Jones served five years in Utah State Prison and was on parole until 2005. He is required to remain registered as a sex offender until 2015. KSL news video embedded below:



Update: On June 12th, KSL published a follow-up story in which Jones said "It is a five-month campaign, and during those five months perhaps the public's fears and the Christian attitude and the true statistics about recidivism can come together so that family can heal, not only in the victim's side but my family."

Jones is not banned from running for elective office. But he is banned, with exceptions, from visiting elementary and secondary schools. District policy allows visits that are authorized and supervised with the school's administration, but the sex offender must stay within eyesight of an administrator at all times. Some of those exceptions include attending school events participated in by one's own children or grandchildren, or attending public events held at the school, with the permission of the principal. When public functions are being held at a school outside of regular school hours, a sex offender may be present at the regulation and discretion of the school's principal. The Granite District has since issued a statement implying that if Jones was elected, they would make no unique exception to the policy for him.

Jones has not re-offended; he says he understands that voters need to know why there is no risk or need for concern on that issue before the election occurs. He says he is ready to serve and states there is no danger because he won’t be around students. He has become an active community organizer and advocate, and has given presentations at forums on how to prevent sex abuse. He told the Salt Lake Tribune's Paul Rolly that that the real issues in the school board race are conflicts of interest on the board and transparency in the way the board issues contracts. As the conservative Republican voice in the nonpartisan race, Jones further explained that he will fight for teachers who motivate their students to learn, and will fight for more good teachers per number of students.



Because the District has made it clear that they won't give Jones a free pass to its schools if he gets elected, it implies that Jones is not running for the school board merely as a ploy to gain access to kids. So there's a chance he's one of the few who have successfully rehabilitated. Rehabilitation doesn't necessarily mean one loses the desire for improper contact with kids; it simply means one has learned to control the desire. Nevertheless, public comments posted to KSL Channel 5 indicate most people are opposed to Jones' campaign, and no one has stated an intent to vote for him.

Many of the measures put in place to minimize the risk of sex offenders having unsupervised access to our kids also hinder the ability of a sex offender to rehabilitate. Residency restrictions can place large swaths of a community off limits; in a few communities, sex offenders end up sleeping under bridges because they cannot find affordable housing in permitted areas. And the sex offender registry can be a magnet for harassment or even vigilantiism. In one of the worst cases of vigilantiism against sex offenders ever documented, Patrick Drum has been arrested for murdering two people on Washington's sex offender registry, and may have been targeting others. Drum is currently being denied bail, and prosecutors plan to seek charges of aggravated first-degree murder, which could result in the death penalty. Drum himself is an ex-con.

We find people who commit sexual offenses to be undesirable in general, and those who offend against pre-pubescent kids to be particularly loathsome. But if we want them to rehabilitate, we have to give them more of a chance; the Alaska Judicial Council reported in 2007 that sex offenders have a recidivism rate of only 39 percent, much lower than other offenders. If we're not willing to do that, then maybe we better keep them locked up, but have them learn a productive trade so they can pay more of their own way. But we cannot allow pedophilia hysteria to continue growing; too many innocent people will be swept up.

5 comments:

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  5. I have known this man for many many many years he is a very good man nowadays you cannot tell a 15 year old for a 30 year old people do make mistakes Still...

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