Sex Offenders
Married to one: I really en1joyed your article "Hello, My Name Is Pervert" (January 11). It was very interesting and hit close to home. I am married to a so-called sex offender, but I would not trade him for anything.

Your article kind of touched on the people who have gotten a bum deal when it comes to being a sex offender. My husband was arrested for armed robbery of a liquor store a couple of years after his mother's death. He was the only person who took care of his mother while she was being treated for colon cancer.

Anyway, back to the sex offense. During the time he robbed the liquor store at the age of 18 with his cousin who was 17 at the time, he was dating a 12-year-old girl. He was not aware of her actual age but did know that she was under 18. The state added the carnal knowledge charges to his sentence. He served three years in jail and just finished probation. My husband knew the girl's parents and often hunted with her father. The parents did not press any charges, but the state did.

I will be the first to admit there are a lot of sick people in the world, but my husband is not one of them. (That would be my older brother who molested me for years and my parents who did nothing when I told them.) He is very close to his family. His self-worth goes down the toilet every year when he has to go downtown to register. It is funny that wealthy guys such as Woody Allen, Elvis, and Seinfeld can do whatever they want with minors and in-laws and are still idolized, while the common guy is branded for life with a social stigma.

Via e-mail

Editor's note: The Dallas Observer generally does not print unsigned letters. In the case of Mark Donald's story on sex offenders, however, we have allowed publication of some letters in which the writer has not provided his name for obvious and compelling reasons.

You sound like a bleeding heart: My questions are: How old are you? Do you have any experience at all, or is this just another assignment? Do you have any children of your own? Would you like to watch as they are abused or flashed? Do you have any idea of the real damage done or are you just a mindless reporter doing a story? What would you do if one of the recidivist's victims were your son or daughter? You really sound like a bleeding heart with so much compassion for these poor mistreated souls who just made some MINOR mistakes! Do you really want these people to be loosed without restraint or accountability on society? If so, I hope your sons and/or daughters will become their recidivistic, post-polygraphic, "poor us" victims. Then, we will see what really matters to you! Your tone in this article makes me wonder! As usual, another liberal, whatever feels good, anti-conservative, hate the right (forget the evidence), we'll be just like New York and the rest article.

Barry V. Goodgion
Via e-mail

Fear and anxiety: I just wanted to write and say thanks for the article regarding sex offenders. As a sex offender myself, it has been more difficult to carry on since registration has started. It is especially difficult for my wife. My offense took place almost 10 years ago, and since then I have graduated from college, married, gotten a job, and I have climbed up the corporate ladder rather well. I am now making a very good living and have a happy life, but the notification sure adds an element of fear and anxiety that I am not sure anyone is prepared for, nor able to completely deal with.

I am the exception to the rule. There are many who are just as capable as me of getting their lives together, who never get that break, and because of registration and the fear that our nation has, they may never get it.

Again, my life is going in the right direction, but I sit in group with a lot of guys every week who are smart and well-equipped to do great things but are not able to get things going in the right direction. My neighbors have been fairly calm about it. They threatened action, but after talking to several of them, they have dropped any of that talk. Some interact with me like we were old friends, but others will not even look my way when they drive or walk past. If I did not own my house, I am sure that I would have been evicted, and then where would I be today?

People are lying to themselves if they believe this intrusion on people's rights will stop with sex offenders. It will quickly expand to drunken drivers, hot-check writers, and, if we don't stop it quick, to journalists who write "bad" stories. But seriously, where does it stop?

Via e-mail

The victims had no choice: You appeared to have a great deal of empathy for the offenders who are restricted by child safety zones. Do you have an understanding of the children who are victimized by child sexual abuse and the restrictions that they face for a lifetime? The price the offenders pay, they pay for something that they had the privilege of choosing. The victims, however, had no choice. They just had to live with the carnage. Some of your points were well taken. I just wish that you would have broadened your scope.

You paint Dallas County Probation officers as though they are "hit men." Could it be that you interviewed disgruntled therapists and that the probation officers are really doing an excellent job? I have been working with child sexual abuse since 1976. Nicholas Groth, Suzanne Segroi, and Henry Gioretto, all pioneers in child sexual abuse treatment, encouraged a multidisciplinary approach. This approach has proven to work best, and I believe that this is the approach that Dallas County encourages.

Joanna Vatsis
Via e-mail

The monster side: As I read the article "Hello, My Name Is Pervert," I was hit with a lot of mixed emotions. I do feel that the laws with which we label and persecute these sex offenders should be applied on a case-by-case basis. To say the man who drops his pants at a pool is in the same class with an actual child predator is crazy.

Many times, it's not the stranger we need to be looking for to take our children and to do the unspeakable. This is not a new problem, either. Molestation of a child is only now being screamed out against, but it's been going on forever. I had a baby sitter who watched me, and in that time I was molested in the morning by her husband almost every day. I finally told the baby sitter, and she begged me not to tell my parents. Her husband found out I told and proceeded to rape me one afternoon when I was left in his care by her. Later, I discovered that his stepdaughter had also been molested by him 15 years earlier.

Out of all the children this woman watched, four other girls were also treated this way. Over the course of dealing with this, I became withdrawn and stayed to myself for years. I also fell into self-destructive behavior, and I resolved within myself to get over the things that man did to me. Not surprising to me, some of his sons have been accused of molesting children. You see, they were allowed to watch what he did to us. It's scary to know that there are human beings out there in the world who wait for these opportunities. It's scarier that people would go as far as they do to protect the monster side they have. I try my best to screen anyone who may watch my own children, and I rarely let them stay at anybody's house overnight. It doesn't always matter. My little girl was 2, and the daughter of the baby sitter molested my child. The one who did it was 13. So, stereotyping and screening and laws just don't work; knowing where your kids are and who they will be around and open communication with your children are the best policies.

I do hope that the 13-year-old gets help, and I do hope that the man who preyed on me is happy in Hell. In the end, that's the judgment that will matter the most.

Name withheld

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.