Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws responds to Pa. Supreme Court decision

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NEW FREEDOM, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws announced they are highly disappointed in the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Pa.

The association said in a statement, “Butler overturns the Superior Court’s finding that our state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) lifetime registration, notification, and counseling requirements (RNC requirements) were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court found that these requirements are not punitive in nature but instead are a collateral consequence of one’s actions and mental fitness and advance public safety.”

The statement continued saying, “The Court seriously erred by finding that public notification of SVPs is constitutional, and this decision will affect over 2,000 PA registrants as well as their families and friends. Being listed on a public registry as an SVP is an unjust and dehumanizing experience. Justice Wecht said at the hearings of Commonwealth v. Thomas Reed, Commonwealth v. Claude Lacombe, and Commonwealth v. Michael Witmayer that being listed on a public sex offender registry is “the mark of Cain.” The ruling in Butler has left intact the mark of Cain for those labeled SVP.”

According to the Pennsylvania Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws, studies have shown that public sex offender registries do not reduce the number of sexual crimes committed and that the collateral consequences of public registration promote criminogenic factors. Moreover, research conducted by leading experts in the field of treatment of those who have sexually offended and of prevention of sexual abuse have demonstrated that, over time, the risk of re-offending decreases even for those in the highest risk category.

The association says what is needed in order to keep children and adults safe from sexual harm is a campaign of education and awareness that focuses on preventing these types of crimes from ever occurring in the first place.

The Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws says, “When we identify sexual offending as the public health crisis that it is and devote resources to prevention, we can begin to make progress towards a safer Pennsylvania for all.”

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