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Sex offender laws are based on preventing the horrific crimes that inspired them-but the abduction, rape, and murder of a child by a stranger who is a previously convicted sex offender is a rare event.The laws offer scant protection for children from the serious risk of sexual abuse that they face from family members or acquaintances.Ian Gorvin, deputy director of the Program Office, and Aisling Reidy, senior legal counsel, edited the report. In February 2005 she was abducted from her home in Florida, raped, and buried alive by a stranger, a next-door neighbor who had been twice convicted of molesting children.Ashoka Mukpo, Grace Choi, and Andrea Holley provided invaluable production assistance. Over the past decade, several horrific crimes like Jessica's murder have captured massive media attention and fueled widespread fears that children are at high risk of assault by repeat sex offenders.They reflect a deep public yearning for safety in a world that seems increasingly threatening.Every child has the right to live free from violence and sexual abuse.
But the high recidivism rates I assumed to be true do not exist.Indeed, people children know and trust are responsible for over 90 percent of sex crimes against them.In addition, sex offender laws are predicated on the widespread assumption that most people convicted of sex offenses will continue to commit such crimes if given the opportunity.Promoting public safety by holding offenders accountable and by instituting effective crime prevention measures is a core governmental obligation.The evidence is overwhelming, as detailed in this report, that these laws cause great harm to the people subject to them.