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USA FAIR Asks Sen. Schumer and Rep. Bishop to Urge Parents for Megan’s Law to Remove Misleading Statistics From Website

USA FAIR, Inc. calls on Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop, financial supporters of Parents for Megan's Law, to address misleading statistic on group's website

Families of Sex Offenders Ask Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop to urge Parents for Megan’s Law to remove misleading statistics from their website

USA FAIR, Inc., a national advocacy organization formed by the family members of people required to register with the sex offender registry, today publicly urged Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Congressman Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY1) to assist in its efforts to get Parents for Megan’s Law Executive Director Laura Ahearn to take down misleading statistics from their website that reinforces the myth of high sex offender recidivism. The organization is based in Rep. Bishop’s Congressional District in Stony Brook, NY.

“According to the Parents for Megan’s Law website, Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop each are responsible for their organization recieving grants in excess of $50,000.  As recipients of public funds they have a responsibility to report fair and accurate statisitcs and not the blatantly misleading statistics they currently present.  This is particularly important now because Parents for Megan’s Law is being considered for a contract with Suffolk County to be active participants in the management of sex offenders in the county.” said Shana Rowan, Executive Director of USA FAIR.

USA FAIR has made fighting the myth of high sex offender recidivism its number one priority for 2013 becasue so many of the laws impacting law abiding former sex offenders are based on the falsehood that former offenders are likely to commit a new sex crime.  According to the U.S. Justice Department and numerous other agencies and institutions that have researched recidivism, sexual offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates in the criminal justice system (www.usafair.org/studies.)

“While we applaud Parents for Megan’s Law for their mission to protect children, as an entity that is funded in part with public funds, they have an obligation to not mislead the public through the misuse of statistics, such as presenting a study of a sub-set of dangerous recidivists and presenting those findings as representative of the entire population of former sex offenders,” said Rowan.

In a letter sent to Parents for Megan’s Law on December 6, 2012, USA FAIR raised objections to statements made on their website, including claims that the “typical” offender against children had committed an average of 280 crimes and has between 360 and 380 victims in his lifetime.  USA FAIR pointed out that the sample of this study was not “typical” of former offenders and that even among this subset of high-risk offenders,  a small percentage of the subjects were responsible for a disproportionately high number of offenses, which significantly skewed the “average” numbers.  In fact, according to Rowan, “When you look at the median numbers of this very study it reveals that half of the subjects committed four or fewer offenses and had three or fewer victims.  So even the “typical” subject of this study did not have the number of victims that Parents for Megan’s Law claims.  And while three victims is three too many, it is a far cry from the 360 to 380 that their website presents.”

Rowan announced that USA FAIR decided to ask for the assistance of Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop after letters, emails and phone calls to Executive Director Laura Ahearn have gone unanswered.  “Ms. Ahearn has every right to disagree with USA FAIR on policy issues, but as long as she takes public money she should present this important issue with facts and not false fears.  Right now Parents for Megan’s Law is misleading the public and Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop need to be made aware of that.” said Rowan.

A 2010 survey by the Center for Sex Offender Management of the U.S. Department of Justice found that 72% of Americans believe that the sex crime recidivism rates are 50% or higher, with a third believing it is more than 75%.  Only 3% believe it is less than 25% - even though actual recidivism rates are considerably below 25%.  New studies are constantly confirming low recidivism, with the latest being released last month showing a recidivism rate in four states of 10% after 10 years, with rates dropping sharply with years of offense-free tenure in the community. (https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/240099.pdf)

Rowan concluded, “As the loved-ones of people who are required to register, we know that the vast majority of former sex offenders are today law abiding citizens who are just trying to rebuild their lives and be good providers for their families.  Once the myth of high sex offender recidivim is firmly dicredited, it will allow us to end our one-size-fits-all approach to sex offender laws and focus our policies on targeting the truly dangerous.”

A copy of USA FAIR’s letter to Laura Ahearn is available here: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/usafair/pages/69/attachments/original/1355332797/USA_FAIR_Letter_to_Laura_Ahearn.pdf?1355332797

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Shana Rowan February 14, 2013 at 12:43 PM
An anonymous Internet vigilante group that goes by the name of “Evil Unveiled” has posted a page that claims that USA FAIR Executive Director Shana Rowan is a member of “The New NAMBLA.” The allegation that Shana would be interested in promoting man-boy love is absurd and slanderous. Shana and USA FAIR strongly support age of consent laws. Evil Unveiled is expert in demagoguery. They take an element of truth and twist and exaggerate it into something totally false. Shana first became active in sex offender law reform by becoming co-Chair of the New York chapter of Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL), where she met many dedicated family members of law-abiding registrants working to reform the registry. It is true that one of the founders of RSOL was using a pseudonym and when he was investigated by other RSOL members and revealed to be an early member of NAMBLA, he stepped down from RSOL. RSOL supports age of consent laws and has never been “affiliated” with NAMBLA. However, even this tangential connection to NAMBLA disturbed Shana and her New York co-Chair and they resigned from RSOL and helped form USA FAIR. One would like to think that such a smear is not even worthy of comment, but given that this falsehood appears in a Google search of Shana, USA FAIR just wants to set the record straight. http://www.usafair.org/the_nambla_smear
Shana Rowan February 14, 2013 at 12:43 PM
An anonymous Internet vigilante group that goes by the name of “Evil Unveiled” has posted a page that claims that USA FAIR Executive Director Shana Rowan is a member of “The New NAMBLA.” The allegation that Shana would be interested in promoting man-boy love is absurd and slanderous. Shana and USA FAIR strongly support age of consent laws. Evil Unveiled is expert in demagoguery. They take an element of truth and twist and exaggerate it into something totally false. Shana first became active in sex offender law reform by becoming co-Chair of the New York chapter of Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL), where she met many dedicated family members of law-abiding registrants working to reform the registry. It is true that one of the founders of RSOL was using a pseudonym and when he was investigated by other RSOL members and revealed to be an early member of NAMBLA, he stepped down from RSOL. RSOL supports age of consent laws and has never been “affiliated” with NAMBLA. However, even this tangential connection to NAMBLA disturbed Shana and her New York co-Chair and they resigned from RSOL and helped form USA FAIR. One would like to think that such a smear is not even worthy of comment, but given that this falsehood appears in a Google search of Shana, USA FAIR just wants to set the record straight. http://www.usafair.org/the_nambla_smear
highhatsize February 14, 2013 at 04:10 PM
to Shana Rowan: Much like JeffC did with you, you have attacked his bona fides without rebutting his (most startling) assertion, to wit, that you are engaged to a violent sex offender who raped a six-year-old. Since you did respond in part, your omission is glaring.
Shana Rowan February 14, 2013 at 05:48 PM
I have already addressed that fallacy in multiple mediums, several times. My fiancee was a minor (12) at the time of his offense, and there was no "rape" involved. That accusation is extrapolated and twisted from his registry entry and the statute under which he was eventually charged, "deviant sexual intercourse", which under NY law refers to a victim under 11, not actual intercourse. Regardless, I (and he) 100% condemn his crime. He was sentenced and punished as a juvenile. He will always feel extreme remorse for his actions, will never repeat them and is doing everything he can to be a contributing member of society and lead a crime-free life. http://www.iloveasexoffender.blogspot.com/2012/10/he-is-not-monster.html https://www.youtube.com/user/sosupporter http://www.usafair.org/about_shana_rowan It is very easily accessible to anyone who cares to do the most basic research.
John T February 20, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Shana get your facts straight - deviant sexual intercourse consists of oral sexual or anal sexual contact. The age of the victim is an element of the crime, in this case under 11 years old, which makes it a first degree crime. This fact is "very easily accessible to anyone who cares to do the most basic research" and is not trying to be deceptive or misleading. Shana does not talk about the poor victim in this case and only tries to minimimize what her sex offender fiance did to this poor child. Hey Shana if your fiance is leading a crime free life how do you explain that he was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender as required by law? Oops he forgot does not cut it!

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