A new report from Sexual Abuse A Journal of Research and Treatment examines the rates of recidivism for sex offenders over a thirty year period for sexual offenses where there was actual contact as well as for sexual offenses in which the Defendant was convicted of a sex offense in which there was no contact with a victim, such as child pornography, voyeurism or exhibitionism. At least one Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer believes the destructive nature of the harsh punishments imposed in Florida criminal courts for non-contact sex offender cases is often too severe especially when compared to cases with minimal punishment where there is actual contact. The findings and conclusions of the study support lower sentences for non-contact offenders and for those offenders who are over the age of 45.
The study notes that the following: Risk for contact sexual offending was related to antisocial behavior and sexual deviance as indicated by having unrelated victims. Noncontact sexual offending was related to sexual deviance in the absence of antisocial behavior … we found evidence that noncontact sexual offending does not lead to contact sexual offense. Only 4% of noncontact offenders in this sample were found to go on to commit a contact sexual reoffense during the follow-up period.
It is quite likely that those showing none of the indications of sexual deviance or antisocial behavior are in need of fewer treatment and supervisory services than those with indications of sexual deviance and/or antisocial behavior. Furthermore, our data indicate that life-time probation and registration requirements are unlikely to improve community safety. We found that after the age of 45, the risk for sexual reoffending drops precipitously. In addition, our data indicate that after 20 years in the community offense free, the risk of reoffending is extremely low.
|William Hogarth, Self Portrait, 1757
|Clearly, even a Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer understands that a Defendant who had actual physical contact with a victim should be punished harshly, but for someone who had no physical contact with a victim shouldn’t there be less prison, less supervision and less over all punishment? Yet in Federal court in the Middle District of Florida in Tampa it’s not unusual for Defendants to serve significant jail sentences for crimes involving no contact with a victim. Is it reasonable that punishment for possession of child pornography could ever be greater than punishment for actually molesting a child? In one reason case of child pornography the Defendant received 17 years for possession of child pornography and the FBI and Federal Prosecutors in the Middle District of Florida, which encompasses Orlando as well as Tampa Bay and Pinellas, Florida, were proud enough of the sentence to put it on their web page.
Soon the Federal Guideline Commission will be tackling the problem of fair sentencing as it relates to sex crimes and the hope is that this new report on non-contact sexual offenses will sway the Commission to bring the guidelines to a reasonable level while also giving Federal District Judges much more discretion to go under the guidelines for non-contact sexual offenses.