The Law Office of John W. Noonan
925-400-6635 Call For A Free Initial Consultation Se Habla EspaƱol Available 24/7

9th Circuit ponders sex offender registration of 10-year-old boy

An Arizona boy who was convicted of at the age of 10 of sexually abusing other boys has appealed his conviction to the 9th Circuit. The U.S. Attorney arguing against the child says the prosecution was “the best thing that could have happened to the kid.”

After all, the boy was federally convicted of aggravated sexual abuse against five boys several years younger than he -- serious offenses. He was sentenced to probation and psychological treatment, so where’s the harm? "What can we do with this child to make sure this doesn't happen again?” the U.S. Attorney asked the appellate court.

One idea might have been not to order him to register as a sex offender, the stigma of which will expose him to ridicule and hamper his chances for educational opportunities or stable housing and employment. Clearly, several other children have been seriously harmed, but are federal prosecution and sex offender registration of a 10-year-old really the best solution we have to offer?

Surely not. In fact, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, children under age 12 who sexually abuse other children typically do so because they themselves have been traumatized. Moreover, the recidivism rate among adolescents who commit sexual misconduct against peers is very low, and children are much more responsive to psychological treatment.

When a young child hurts other children sexually, it is a tragedy and it needs to be addressed for the sake of all those involved. The boy’s public defender couldn’t remember any other case in which a 10-year-old had been federally prosecuted for a sex crime and called it “really overreaching on the part of the government.”

As the U.S. Supreme Court has emphasized in several cases recently, the intention of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, not punishment. No one wins when children are incarcerated and blacklisted for life, while an appropriate intervention often gets young people back on track toward positive futures that benefit everyone.

What a young child accused of sexual misconduct needs is help, not prosecution. Even if his sentence were to result in high-quality psychological treatment, any progress he makes toward his own healing will almost certainly be undone by a lifetime of stigma. Child protection, not police, was needed here.

When all you have is a hammer, as they say, everything you see looks like a nail.

Sources: 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Recent Case Results

  • Juvenile Charges

    A juvenile was arrested for 2nd Degree Robbery. After 6 months the case was dismissed.

    A juvenile was arrested for Sexual Battery. After 6 months and 80 hours of Community service, the case was dismissed.

    Read More
  • Drunk Driving Offenses

    A client with a 1st DUI arrest. Fearing she would go to jail; lose her license for a year and lose her job. Got a wet reckless and minimal fines.

    Read More
  • Drug Charges

    A client with 4 Felony charges on a Transportation Charge, a Attempt to Sell, Possession of Marijuana, (50 pounds), Conspiracy Charge all where reduced to 1 Misdemeanor. No Jail.

    Client was charged with 6 Felony drug possessions. Facing jail time. The results: Client got a deferred entry of judgment and then dismissed.

    Client charged with several felony counts of possession of Marijuana with intent to sell. Client was involved in a medical marijuana grow. Case was reduced and later dismissed.

    Read More
  • Sex Crimes

    A client with alleged 2 Felony Sex charges and he faced jail and sex registration. The case was entirely dismissed.

    Client charged with prostitution; facing jail time and sex offender registration. Result: NO JAIL TIME AND NO SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION Deferred Entry of Judgment.

    Read More
  • Domestic Violence

    Client charged with domestic violence, with great bodily injury. Case reduced to a misdemeanor with time served.

    Read More
Email Us For A Response

Learn How We Can Help

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Areas We Serve

Pleasanton Office
5674 Stoneridge Drive, Suite 204
Pleasanton, CA 94588

Toll Free: 800-785-9556
Phone: 925-400-6635
Fax: 925-463-3661
Pleasanton Law Office Map

Manteca Office
210 East Center Street
Suite 10
Manteca, CA 95336

Toll Free: 800-785-9556
Phone: 925-400-6635
Fax: 925-463-3661
Manteca Law Office Map

Back To Top