Target: State Governments of the United States
Goal: Revise criteria for sexual offender registration so that minor offenses like public urination are not qualifying charges
Sometimes, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. Whether you are 30 miles from the next rest stop, at a park where the port-a-john makes you feel like you’re going to leave with a communicable disease, or in the endless line of a single-stall women’s room, there are situations when a bathroom just isn’t in the plan. However, most states still list public urination as a sex crime, and only six require a child to be present to render it as an offense.
The majority of those charged with public urination are merely required to pay a fine. However, an unlucky few are permanently charged as a sex offender, thereby ruining their lives. These individuals become ostracized by neighbors, have difficulty finding a job and housing, and suffer harassment.
But public urination isn’t the only outlandish act that lands minor criminals on the sex offender list. Pranks like mooning and streaking can get perpetrators there as well. Other cases, like a 17-year-old having consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend, make the charge of “sexual assault against a minor” sound much worse than what actually happened. There is a problem with this system. All of these scenarios can land people on the same list as rapists, sexual batterers and child molesters.
Qualifying public urination as a sex offense is an outdated law that needs to be changed. It takes away from the seriousness of true sex crimes, and ruins the lives of the people who have to register. “Sex offender” is a label that can tarnish one’s name for life. What constitutes a sex crime in the U.S. needs to be updated. A child molester and a man who just couldn’t wait for a bathroom shouldn’t be on the same list. Urge states to revise the maximum punishment for public urination.
Dear State Governments of the United States,
The broad scope of what is considered a sex crime allows for people with public urination charges to be penalized by having to register as a sex offender. Though we recognize that many states give leniency to these cases, there are always the unlucky few that are going to land on the sex offender list unwarranted. This not only takes away from the seriousness of actual sex crimes, but it ruins the lives of the people charged. They will struggle with finding a job, somewhere to live, and may suffer harassment.
A few states have actually made the effort to rewrite their laws in order to separate public urination from indecent exposure. Only six states currently require a child to be present for it to be offense. It isn’t right to put a child molester and a man urinating outdoors in the same category. It is a flawed system. Please, consider rewriting the law to prevent this from happening to even one more person.
[Your Name Here]
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