Feb 21, 2011 8:32 PM by Stephanie Collins

Group working on behalf of sex offenders

Do sex offenders deserve to have their voice heard? A group called Advocates for Change works to reform laws for those convicted of a sex offence, it something victims' advocates find hard to understand.

"My son is doing very well, going to school full time and goes to church every Sunday," says Susan Walker whose son has been out of prison for the last couple years.

He had sex with an underage girl, without her consent, "He asked to have sex with her and she said no, she was drunk and fell asleep and he had sex with her," Walker explains

Walker is a member of Advocates for Change, they say her son is one of the lucky ones who had an indeterminate prison sentence but got treatment and got out.

"What that was supposed to mean was that they serve their bottom number, then go through the treatment program within Department of Corrections, then be released under lifetime supervision on the outside," says Annie Wallen, when explaining indeterminate sentences, she's also a member of Advocates for Change. She adds that, "The Department of Corrections has changed how they implement that and treat it as a lifetime sentence," meaning sex offenders are serving longer sentences.

Victims' advocates have a hard time understanding a group that advocates for sex offenders, Joyce Aubrey was sexually abused as a child, "It's frightening as a survivor of a sexual assault and someone who volunteers daily to work with sexual abuse survivors."

Aubrey's concerned more about the victims than the offenders, "The victims are re-victimized by being exiled from their families and the perpetrators are supported by spouses and other siblings, it's a victim blaming crime."

Right now lawmakers are working on a bill to re-authorize the Sex Offender Management Board, which determines treatment and monitoring of sex offenders. Advocates for Change have an issue with some of the language in the bill, "What should be in statute is this board should exist, but not a philosophy that says that no one with a sex offense can be cured," says Walker.

Victims' advocates and some lawmakers are concerned about how to do that and still protect the public, "They are a threat to our community if not properly managed and monitored," says Republican Representative Bob Gardner, El Paso County.

A reading is scheduled for the Sex Offender Management Board Reauthorization Bill Tuesday morning. Advocates for Change say they'll be there.

For more on the group, click here.



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