Justice, community safety—and children themselves—are being gravely harmed, all in the name of child protection.
Innocent Americans are wrongfully accused and imprisoned for sex crimes against children. Parents and guardians of children who die in accidents or fires are charged with homicide. In these cases, coerced testimony and junk forensic science sway judges, juries, and reporters, whose common sense is eclipsed by the mere suggestion of “harm to minors.”
Laws criminalizing consensual teen sex, minor sexual infractions, and a growing body of images labeled pornographic impose serious punishment on adults and minors who have done little or no harm. And harsh post-incarceration restrictions prevent former sex offenders from reclaiming productive, law-abiding lives through work, family, education, worship, or civic engagement.
In America’s extraordinarily cruel criminal justice system, excessive punishment of sex offenders often is used as a wedge to impose similar practices on other offenders. Reforming sex offender laws and other statutes involving juvenile victims can help restore the human rights and dignity of all criminal offenders.