Scott Chris Thomas Is Not A Sex Offender

Scott Chris Thomas is not a sex offender. You can't find his name or his picture on California's Megan's Law Website. When he was released by the California Department of Corrections onto parole, he didn't have to go to a police station to register as a sex offender. He didn't have to find a place to live that was at least 2,000 feet from the nearest school or park.

But Scott Thomas, a known violent offender on parole, decided to rob a San Franciso bakery and stab a fifteen year old girl who happened to be there, almost to death. She lived, but now faces the possibility of never regaining the use of her right arm. A passer-by, coming to the aid of the girl, received three stab wounds, including a punctured lung.
As it turned out, when the C.D.C. sprang him loose from San Quentin State Prison, they didn't realize that they were freeing the wrong “Thomas”. Scott Chris Thomas, who is white and 26 years old, was mistaken for another inmate with the last name “Thomas” who is black, much heavier, and in his fifties.

Here's my point: the State of California has implemented a rigid and encompassing mechanism for tracking and monitoring those convicted of sex offenses, even when the circumstances of their offense were devoid of elements of force, coersion, or violence. Those offenders receive tons of attention, not only from their parole officers, but from local police in the location to which they are paroled, the press, and the public. They immediately have to register as sex offenders at the local police station, their homes are carefully scrutinized to ensure compliance with the requirements of “Jessica's Law”, and local neighborhood “watch” committees may distribute flyers with their picture, their address, and the particulars of their offense to all of their new neighbors.

“Sex Offenders” receive seemingly unlimited attention from the government, the press and the public. But other criminals, regardless of their propensity for violence or its documented history, are unencumbered by any public registry and do not have to report to the police department, have their fingerprints taken, their photos taken, and their residence verified. Neither websites nor flyers bearing their photos can be viewed by local residents. And apparently, the California Department of Corrections can take a much more cavalier approach to their release.

The C.D.C. allocated very little concern to their release of Scott Chris Thomas, a cold and narcissistic thug whose mug shot exudes sociopathy through his contemptuous sneer. And yet I had a very difficult time finding this picture of him, despite his having recently nearly murdered a young girl. And that's because he's not on any public registry and the press spent very little time on this story compared to say, Cary Verse who, after completing years of sex offender treatment, was released into the community to the roars of public indignation and chased from one community to another, just trying to find a place to live.
How do we reconcile the difference in attention received by these two types of offenders and how do we justify these differences as a matter of public policy?

I would suggest that the key difference lies not in the exercise of some carefully considered and objective standard for dangerousness but in a knee-jerk overreaction to sex offenses, especially those involving children on the one hand and an underreaction to amoral and pathological parasites like Scott Thomas, on the other.

1 comment:

Fima Fimovich said...

My name is Fima and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
I came to US as political refugee on human rights violations in former USSR
I am russian jew, and I got a lot of discrimination in USSR
My parents are Holocaust survivors.
But I got the worst thing in USA, never possible in communist country.
I was set up with my computer, convicted as a s..x offender for computer p..rn.
Now I do not have job and can hardly survive under police database
supervision, named s..x offender registration. Nobody want to hire me,
I think because of police database.
And I have family. Who cares? Dirty polititians are playing their
dirty games for more power.
I would like to send you some links to publications about my criminal
case. I was forced to confess to the
possession of internet digital pictures of p..rn in deleted clusters
of my computer hard drive. My browser was hijacked while I was
browsing the web. I was redirected to illegal sites against my will.
Some illegal pictures were found on my hard drive, recovering in
unallocated clusters, without dates of file creation/download.

I do not know how courts can widely press these charges on people to
convict them, while the whole Internet is a mess.
You can find all links to publications about my case here

http://estrinyefim.newsvine.com/_news/2007/06/23/798199-internet-porn-hysteria