With her parents' blessing, they began to date, and openly saw each other romantically for almost a year.When it was disclosed that consensual sexual contact had occurred, her parents pressed charges against Brandon and he was convicted of sexual assault and placed on the sex offender registry in his state. He will be on the registry and publicly branded as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Some politicians cite recidivism rates for sex offenders that are as high as 80-90 percent.
In fact, most (three out of four) former sex offenders do not reoffend and most sex crimes are not committed by former offenders.
Sex offender laws are based on preventing the horrific crimes that inspired them-but the abduction, rape, and murder of a child by a stranger who is a previously convicted sex offender is a rare event.
The laws offer scant protection for children from the serious risk of sexual abuse that they face from family members or acquaintances.
While these beliefs may seem intuitively correct, they are predicated on several widely shared but nonetheless mistaken premises.
Given these faulty underpinnings, it is not surprising that there is little evidence that the laws have in fact reduced the threat of sexual abuse to children or others.
Indeed, people children know and trust are responsible for over 90 percent of sex crimes against them.
In addition, sex offender laws are predicated on the widespread assumption that most people convicted of sex offenses will continue to commit such crimes if given the opportunity.
Human Rights Watch would like to thank all of the survivors of sexual violence, former offenders and their families, social workers, advocates, law enforcement officials, and attorneys who shared their experiences and perspective with us for this report.