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Ethical Treatment for All Youth
www.ethicaltreatment.org
Email:
etay@ethicaltreatment.org

About the author

HELP FOR PARENTS

Unfortunately, Ethical Treatment for All Youth does not have the professional or legal expertise to provide you with assistance for your particular situation. However, you may be interested in joining our support and discussion group, and the information below may be of help.

HOTLINE

To speak with someone for support, contact the reformsexoffenderlaws.org hotline at 1-800-773-4319. Hotline hours of operation can be found at the reformsexoffenderlaws.org website.

LEGAL REFERRALS

The following agencies have indicated that they may provide relevant legal assistance, however we have no information on their success rates or client satisfaction. If you have information regarding the effectiveness of any of these agencies, please contact us.

  • National Center for Reason and Justice - non-profit organization, educates the public about false accusations of sexual abuse and provides financial and legal assistance to the falsely accused and wrongfully convicted
  • Falsely Accused - resource center for laymen and attorneys. "Legislators, prosecutors, and many powerful interest groups have created laws that now make it easier than ever to be falsely accused and convicted of rape, physical abuse, and child molestation."
  • National Child Abuse Defense & Resource Center - non-profit organization, provides legal and mental health referrals for people accused of child abuse
  • The A-team - private firm, specializes in defending against false accusations of child sexual abuse. Takes juvenile clients, sometimes including those who are charged for engaging in mutually willing sex play or sexual relationships.
  • HEAL's Legal Referral Page - lists attorneys and firms that can help you sue or press charges against abusive behavior modification programs. They may also be sympathetic to victims of abusive juvenile sex offender treatment programs.
  • Paul Stuckle - private firm in Plano, Texas, specializes in defending against false accusations of child sexual abuse and represents parents in conflicts with Child Protective Services. Site includes information about fighting false charges of sexual abuse.
  • Nichols Consulting - private firm in Sidney, New York, specializes in defending against false accusations of child sexual abuse.
  • Preble Law Firm - private firm in Olympia, Washington, represents parents in conflicts with Child Protective Services
  • Nathan Sauser, Law Offices of David Michael Cantor - private firm in Phoenix, Arizona, represents families of teenagers charged with sex crimes for consenxual relationships
IMPORTANT INFORMATION YOUR LAWYER MAY BE ABLE TO USE

Infancy defense: Substantial evidence held to support Superior Court's ruling that 11-year old sex offender lacked criminal capacity

IF YOUR CHILD IS ACCUSED OF A SEX CRIME

If your child did not commit the crime, do not accept a plea bargain. Although it may sound attractive at the time, a plea bargain will result in your child being labeled and permanently stigmatized as a sex offender, and often placed on a public sex offender registry, mandated to harmful treatment, prohibited from contact with other children, restricted from education, jobs, and living in certain areas, and/or subject to other consequences that will severely limit his or her future.

From Jayme Wilson in Texas:
  • Know exactly what your child is ordered to do or not to do.
  • Keep a journal of any and all contact you have with any kind of law enforcement agency. Make sure you write down names and extension numbers, and keep your own notes about everything. This may seem like a hassle, but if you ever find yourself in a jam you will have much less stress if you don't have to try to recall dates and names and who said what to whom.
  • Since your child has been charged with or maybe even convicted of a sexual crime, be very careful of the situations you put your child in. Remember, even an accusation can be detrimental to his or her future now.
  • Also, your child's safety is a big factor. If your child has only a handful of close friends, then you have less worry about who will make their life miserable by spreading nasty rumors. My son had only a select few friends who knew of his situation, and their parents were told what happened so there were no questions. We never had any trouble with fighting or vandalism to our property because we never tried to hide what happened.
IF YOUR CHILD IS MANDATED TO SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT

From Barb of Citizens for Second Chances in Michigan:

I would HIGHLY recommend (even though it can become quite costly) that you select a counselor or therapist of your own for your son to see, so that they can try to diffuse any ill effects from the sex offender treatment, especially if they make your son admit to things that he did NOT do. Then there is someone else, in an official capacity, who knows your son's side of the story, and what being made to lie has done to him. I should also note that you should make sure that your son "clicks" with whoever he is seeing. The first therapist my son saw was not a good match. That is nothing against the therapist, but my son was not comfortable talking with him, so we switched to try to find someone he would be open with. It was a much better match. Don't be afraid to change therapists if it is not a good match for your son. My son is now doing very well! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

From Janet Boeldt of Families and Children Exploited Sexually in Indiana:

  • Tell your child to obey the rules, answer questions truthfully and participate in required activities.  Any form of disobedience will only cause him more problems.
  • Send mail regularly and encourage others to write also.
  • Your child will be allowed to call you periodically.  Be aware that someone may be listening to what he is saying even if he says no one is there with him.
  • Visit regularly and make notes about your childís appearance. Talk to him about any bruises, cuts etc. Make notes about how he seems to be handling things emotionally.
  • Let your child know that you love him and he is a good person regardless of what anyone else says.
  • Let him know that you are going to help him through this and will be there for him when he is released.
  • Keep all paperwork and take notes during meetings with staff. When you leave the facility, write down everything that happened, what was said and by whom. Ask questions regarding therapy, your childís progress, anything that bothers you or you donít understand.  Realize that you will not always be told the truth.
  • Keep track of all medications given, how often, and changes made.
  • Connect your home phone to a tape recorder and record all conversations with staff at the facility. All this requires is a cheap recorder and a $15 piece of equipment from Radio Shack or other electronics store.  It is not against the law in Indiana.

FINDING A NON-ABUSIVE TREATMENT PROGRAM

If you have a choice in your child's treatment, or if you freely choose to get treatment for him or her (because your child's sexual behavior is truely harmful rather than simply being disconcerting or judged as immoral), consider the following tips from treatment expert Robert Longo:

  • Examine your state's DHHS/DFS/CPS website and see which providers are listed for investigation of abusive practices.
  • For each provider you consider, inquire as to if they have outside evaluators come into their program to do independent program evaluations.
  • Inquire whether the programs do periodic patient satisfaction surveys.

CHALLENGING ABUSIVE PROGRAMS AND REGISTRATION/NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

From Ken Bond, advocate for child victims of abusive treatment practices in Arizona:

Examine the contract between the probation departments and the therapists. Some contracts actually require the therapists to follow all directions given by the probation department, including in the area of professional judgement and treatment planning. If that is happening, they are in violation of the Code of Ethics of the American Psychological Association and can have their license suspended. Write a letter of complaint to the local board, citing the information from the contract or instructions from the probation department and noting how it is a conflict of interest. Request that the program be suspended until they put the therapist back into control of his own practice.

In Arizona, the probation departments issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide treatment for sex offenders. Within that RFP, which actually becomes the contract when awarded, is the requirement of such things as non-confidentiality. In addition they require that a specific program be followed. Those requirements include such things as the penile plethysmograph, the Abel screen, and other testing evaluation devices. If your state does not have a contractual arrangement as to methodology or type of therapy used by therapists, then much of the battle will not need to be fought. We here have the battle.

There are about three basic steps that need to be taken here. First, there must be a separation of the interlocking relationship between the probation departments and the mental health industry. The challenge is first to destroy this interlocking relationship whereby the therapists have become surrogate probation officers. The key to this is filing an injunction utilizing  Antelope and Jaffee as the basis of the decision. There are also many other decisions that do support the concept of confidentiality.

The second issue is one of significance to individuals nationwide. That is the installation of the registration and notification systems. As most states have three levels in the notification levels, there is the question of whether or not these are correct.  Based on the use of the instrument in Arizona, I calculated that each and every level may be incorrect. The way this is done is to go back to the instrument that is used for the evaluation. Since the Monohan Study some years ago where they found that clinical evaluations were wrong 2 out of 3 times, therapists, in my opinion, endeavored to save face by developing a substitute. In so doing, they said they needed an objective device and therefore started tinkering with  actuarial devices. More and more they went into these areas and "developed" instrument after instrument. There are serious flaws from the get go. That is because these individuals were using these things as projecting instruments. They did not ask the one question: Are these instruments capable of doing what they are said to do? The answer is NO! In this lies the key. In most states, which use the Daubert standard, these cannot be used in court or should not be.

According to Arizona statutes, the risk level must be assigned to the individual. That brings a problem. First it is a problem of due process. If an individual is assigned a level and they contest it, that should take it to court. With proper petitioning, an injunction could be issued that stops all evaluations until the evaluation can be applied to the individual and not to a group. There is also, sadly, no opportunity to contest the level except, I believe, in Vermont, which is a violation of the Due Process clause of the various amendments of the Constitution. Professors of mathematics, statistics, and actuarial science will laugh them out of court when they are called upon to show the actuarial devices' ability to do what they say.

Now here then is the situation that has been created. First, if the state has a requirement  to waive confidentiality, an injunction will stop that and the mandated therapy program will be brought to a screeching halt. The second is applicable to all states I believe, except for Connecticut. If the proper injunction is sought and obtained, the entire system of assignment of notification levels and notification itself can be brought to a halt until they arrive at a system that predicts the level of a specific individual. That is impossible. Therefore, if the law requires the level to be applied to the individual (
as it does in Arizona), since it can't be done, effectively that will bring the notification to a halt.

SEND YOUR STORY TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND THE MEDIA

The national organization Human Rights Watch is collecting stories of the consequences of overly broad definitions of sex offenders. For more information, click here.

The central Florida chapter of the ACLU plans to go national with stories of hardships caused by sex offender registries. Regardless of which state you live in, submit your story to  president George Crossley.

Jonathan Green, reporter for the New York Times, Esquire, and other publications, wants to interview children who have been wrongly accused or convicted for minor violations of sex laws.