Putting our children first

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

In recent months there has been national media attention focused on several murders of children at the hands of sexual predators. While none of these children lived here, the question bears, could it happen here? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

While it's not a topic that is talked about around the dinner table or at church, child sexual abuse, and those that promulgate such activity, need to have a light shined on them so that parents and guardians can be armed with the information they need to keep their children from becoming victims of such abuse.

The law is clear regarding sexual offenders and their requirement to register with local law enforcement, but we dare say that these convicted felons, who statistically have a very high rate of re-offending, generally go unnoticed until it's too late.

Email newsletter signup

As parents, guardians and a community we need to arm ourselves with the information we need to protect those that cannot protect themselves; our children, and one way is to know who your neighbors are.

The easiest way for you to track where sexual predators live in Butler County is by visiting the Department of Public Safety's web site (www.dps.state.alabama.us).

You can also call the sheriff’s office or your local police department and gain access to this information, which by law, is public record. On the DPS website you will find every convicted sexual predator who resides in Butler County and for any other county in Alabama.

Sadly, this list grows daily.

As this community’s newspaper, we believe it is our duty to alert our readers to matters of importance and safeguarding the physical and mental health of our children is at the top of our list.

In today’s society we must put the safety of our children above the rights of the convicted.

It's important to know that criminal experts and law enforcement officials agree that sex offenders are likely to repeat their crime. Convicted offenders will admit they cannot suppress their compulsions, and there may be no cure for this behavior.

What can you do to protect those dearest to you?

First, we can arm yourself with information.

Study the list and learn the names on it and find out where they live. Two, we must talk to our children about sexual predators.

As one of our interview subjects told us, you can no longer only warn our children about taking candy from strangers.

You need to know where your children are, what they’re doing and who they’re with.

Statistics are clear; most victims of sexual abuse know their attackers, so the message is clear- don't take anything, or anyone, for granted.

There will be some that will argue that the sexual offenders who have done their time and followed the law in registering should be left alone.

However, our belief is simple.

We will put the rights of society and those of our children above those of the convicted.

Our children deserve nothing less.