A young man I know who has dyslexia was found guilty about 11 years ago when he was 18 of exposing himself and of voyeurism. At no time did he have any contact with the girls and women concerned. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, which he served with no problem. Since he came out of prison he has been constantly harassed by the local police who seem to think that any similar crime in the area can be put down to him, pestering him even when it turned out that the he did not match the descriptions of the offenders. As far as I know, during all this time, he has kept out of trouble. He has had three relationships with older women with young children and each time Social Services workers have managed to break up the relationship because of their "fears" that he would molest the children or be guilty of rape. In the last relationship his girlfriend became pregnant and their son was born last January. Since before that time they have lived together. He has been quite open with his girlfriend about his past police record, but her mother has never seemed happy about it. A combination of the police, social workers and representatives of a group called "Jigsaw" has now forced him to leave the home he has shared with his son and his mother. The reason the Social Services people give is something along the lines that rapists almost always start off by being voyeurs (they do not seem to appreciate the logical fallacy that that does not mean that nearly all voyeurs become rapists). They threatened to take the baby away if his father continued to live in the same house. Why they have allowed him to stay their for seven months after the baby's birth is beyond me.To me, the behaviour of the police and other authorities in this matter has been intolerable. I accept that they have their job to do, but in my opinion they have subjected the poor man to inexcusable and constant harassment, even persecution, over the ten years since he left prison during which time he has not been guilty of any offence and seemed to all family members to have learned his lesson. It seems now that he will never be allowed to have a normal family life with children of his own. All this because of some stupid mistakes when he was a teenager who had had a difficult childhood and school life because of his dyslexia. Unfortunately, he seems unable to stand up for himself.What advice can you give? He has served his time and will shortly be coming off the so-called sex offenders register. Does he have any case in law in respect of the harassment (and worse) to which he has been subjected?J. Sharp
System of Law: England-and-WalesWhat have you tried so far?: I have just looked up various points (e.g. the subject of the sex offenders register) on the internet.
HiThank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. I will try to help with this. Please RATE my answer OK SERVICE or above.If he was sentenced 11 years ago then it could not have been for voyeurism as that was no offence then and he did not get 12 months for exposure. People used to get bind overs for that.Do you know what the offences were?
I have given you the facts as I know them. The main charge was exposure (unfortunately one of the women concerned was a police officer!). It is possible that the police accused him of other crimes that he did not confess to. I should have mentioned that his psychiatrist gave as his opinion that it was very unlikely he would ever commit rape.
I'm really sorry but it just plain could not have been those offences only. It might be that he is not clear what he was charged with or more particularly sentenced for. That does happen quite regularly.In any event though, I'm really sorry but this is not harassment. Harassment refers to unlawful conduct. This is just targeting as the law allows them to do.He is subject to the sex offenders register as he could not have been if he were sentenced for exposure alone before 2003 as it was not a sexual offence then but a matter under the vagrancy act. The register allows the police to monitor its signatures. One of the main purposes of the register is to use the information contained to investigate other crimes.In relation to the conduct of social workers, its fair to say that they are not usually helpful to harmonious family life. However, they are free to do this. In fairness, where a person subject to the sex offenders register is in close proximity with young children then it is likely that their child protection policies are engaged sufficiently to need to investigate. Investigations do put strain on relationships.For what its worth, it is fair to say that some sexual offences are over sentenced. A man should not be signing the sex offenders register for five years for trying to kiss somebody in a nightclub. However, those sexual offences do not usually lead to 12 months custody for an 18 year old on what seems to be a first offence and before all the sentencing reforms increased custodial sentences for sex offenders.Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Thanks. I shall have to make further enquiries about the (possibly alleged) offences.
On the question of "targeting", how long can this continue? I thought sex offenders registration ceased after 10 years. And is it equitable that the young man at present has no prospect of having a normal family life with his own children?
Sometimes people are only placed on the register for five years. If he was on the register for ten then he will obviously be removed thereafter.Police targeting can continue for life though at least in principle. Obviously it is always subject to reasonableness tests and it becomes less reasonable as time goes on without incident.I cant comment on fairness. The issue isn't really fairness anyway but law. Art 8 is in place allowing him to marry and found a family but the problem here is that Art 8 is a right capable of derogation and child protection concerns would be good grounds. It would be harder to interfere if they were his own children as its harder to remove actual biological children without grounds beyond suspicion. But if he has relationships with women that bring him into close proximity with their children then I'm afraid I cannot imagine that a Court would accept that social services are not reasonably entitled to be concerned.
But there have never been any grounds for even suspecting him of paedophilia. The phrase " category error" comes to mind.
No, but the issue is sexual offences generally give rise to concern. It may not give rise to grounds to remove the children but it something they can't just ignore. It will be my pleasure to continue with this but please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above.
Bar Exams, over 5 years in practice.
What (as I think was the case) there was a threat was to remove the child if he remained in the home?
Not sure what you mean?If you mean that they told the mother that if he was not excluded they would remove the children then that is a fairly common threat. Sometimes they are able to act upon it and sometimes not. Usually though they just want a person removed short term while they consider the risk and their view generally speaking is that a responsible mother would want that to happen. That doesn't involve making any long term decisions but it does make the situation safe short term. In fairness, I think from your first post that some of the victims of the offences may have been under 18.
Yes, that is what I meant.
I think some of the girls to whom he exposed himself were probably under 18. But that does not mean he is a paedophile. I agree that indecent exposure isn't normal behaviour, but there is a thin dividing line between voyeurism and the normal desire for teenage boys (and older men) to look at girls.
I agree that social services are justified in being concerned – within reason (I really think that they are going over the top because of past highly-publicised failures to protect children in spite of clear warning signs). From what you say, however, the police and social services can do almost what they choose to prevent him having any contact with young children (even his own), even though all the evidence (including psychiatric reports) indicates that he poses no danger to them. Has he no recourse whatever – which is really the point of my question?
It does give rise to child protection concerns.Technically anybody who commits a sexual offence upon anybody under 18 is a peadophile. They can do what is reasonable and proportionate to the risk. While he is still subject to the register it would be a bit difficult to argue they are not reasonably entitled to act.Of course they are going over the top. The whole of society is. As with domestic violence and racism and some other politically driven topics, our father's generation did not take them seriously enough so we have to go WAY over the top in the other direction for a short time until the madness passes. One excess breeds another in this world.
I have just been in touch with the young man's aunt. She went to the police station with him and saw the charge sheet. The charge was indecent exposure. She also said that there were no girls under 18 concerned. It doesn't make sense.
You say "While he is still subject to the register" – what when the 10-year term expires (apparently in October)? His aunt thinks it should have been 5 years anyway.
But was that what he pleaded to? There was an offence of indecent exposure under the old law but it wasn't used very much and it didn't lead to 12 months custody and certainly not for 18 year olds on first offences.
Unless, of course, it was a more recent matter? I still wouldn't expect 12 months custody.
Do you know what the legislation was? Before 2003 it should have been S4 Vagrancy Act most likely which you'll find here
No, it was certainly when he was 18, and he is 28 now. As I have said, there have been no further offences, although several that the police have tried to pin on him (he has had alibis; on one occasion the offender had been described as having red hair: our young man is bald!).
Does the 10-year (register) period start from the date of the offence or when the person comes out of prison?
How can that be correct when the age of consent is now 16?
Its always been 16. But its an aggravating feature if the complainants are under 18.
How can it be "technically " paedophilia if the victim is above the age of consent? "Aggravating feature" implies at least a degree of subjectivity, of which, it seems to me, there has been far too much shown by the "authorities" in this case.
Yes I agree. But that's the state if affairs at the moment. What you are really saying is that you disagree with their position which may well be right as we are paranoid on the point. That is not the same thing as acting unlawfully though.
Just a couple of final points. Firstly, when does the 10-year (register) period start: from the date of the offence, the date of conviction, or when the person comes out of prison? I have asked this before.
Secondly, when the 10-year period has expired, is the slate wiped clean, as it were, or is the man likely to be constantly pestered by the police?
1 It runs from the date of release.2 No. They can renew it under the new rules. If they do not then all that will mean is he is no longer subject to requirements but it doesn't mean they cannot target him I'm afraid.
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