U.S. Law To Make Young Sex Offenders’ Pasts Hard To Shake


The past of a juvenile sex offender is hard to shake. Justifiably or not, it can define an entire life, even when
some experts say that young people, properly treated, rarely repeat those crimes, says the Chicago Tribune.
Tim, 19, sexually abused an 8-year-old girl in Chicago five years ago, and his name was logged onto a state
registry for juvenile sex offenders. Only the police have known about his record until now. In adulthood, the
circle is widening, says the Chicago Tribune. He was rejected by military recruiters and a college
admissions office after he informed them of his history. He is concerned that a year from now, a
federal law might cause his full name, photo and address to be displayed on the Internet, just like adult
sex offenders.

Officials at a program for troubled youths say Tim has responded well to years of intense therapy, earning the chance to move beyond his past. University of Oklahoma psychologist Barbara Bonner says ample evidence suggests treatment works for young sex offenders. Studies have found that 5 to 14 percent of those who receive counseling commit another sexual crime. In July 2010 a new federal law will compel states to reveal the identities of many young sex offenders on a Web site for at least 25 years.

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