Ohio, put on your scarlet P

COLUMBUS - An Ohio legislative panel yesterday rubber-stamped an unprecedented process that would allow sex offenders to be publicly identified and tracked even if they've never been charged with a crime.

They call this a "civil registry", and those named would be treated as those covered under Megan's law, including being restricted in where they could live.

And whose bright idea was this?

The concept was offered by Roman Catholic bishops as an alternative to opening a one-time window for the filing of civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse that occurred as long as 35 years ago.

In other words, to protect the church's assets, the bishops threw the rest of Ohio to the dogs. That should be worth 7 aeons in Purgatory, at least.

But we all hate perverts, right? Let me spell out a hypothetical, for the paranoia-challenged out there. Let's say I'm a gadfly politician, and I've pissed off the county prosecutor. He trumps up some evidence about me being a child molester and brings it to the judge. The judge is convinced by it, and puts me on the list. There's no trial, so I can't argue against his evidence. Now, let's be optimistic and say I don't have to move, and the neighbors don't much care. (I got notices several times in my old 'hood, and the perp was generally accused of stupid stuff like 19 diddling 15...certainly nothing to fear or change behavior over.) Now, say I run for office, and the opposition does its homework. Bingo! Suddenly the whole freaking nation knows "he's a pervert", and my electability has plunged to just below that of Genghis Khan.

A friend of mine just said she was moving because she did not feel safe being a freedom-lover in Ohio. I derided that remark a little, at the time. I'm not now.

Thanks (I think) to Clairefiles.

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