MCC Responds to Sex Offender Advocate Group

The March 30th Letter writer Paul Shannon (“Voice of reason muffled over child abuse bill”) wrongly depicted support for repeal of the Statute of Limitations in cases of child sexual abuse as “madness” and its supporters as operating under “mob mentality.”  Under the guise of supporting “evidence-based” policies and opposing hysteria around sex offenders, Mr. Shannon concocts a false and fear-mongering scenario in which repeal, he says, would result in police taking a person accused of a 40-year-old child sex crime into custody “without any significant corroborating evidence.”  The fact is that repeal of the criminal Statute of Limitations would have no retroactive impact on past crimes. After the bill’s passage, only future victims would be able to file charges against their abusers without having to do so before an arbitrary time clock ran out.
Readers should know that Mr. Shannon’s interest in opposing SOL repeal stems from his long history of defending child sexual abusers. An educator and staff of the American Friends Service Committee, Mr. Shannon publicly likens the trial of former priest and convicted child sex abuser Paul Shanley to the Salem witch hunts.  Mr. Shannon is also an initiator of the group Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL), referred to by anti-pedophile advocates as “the New NAMBLA.”  Leaders of the widely discredited North American Man Boy Love Association repackaged themselves in 2007 into the group which Mr. Shannon now leads.
RSL formally disavows any connection to NAMBLA, BoyChat, B4UAct and other related groups. Why then is Tom Reeves aka “Alex Marbury,” a known NAMBLA founder, and self-described “boy lover” described on the group’s website as “the heart and soul of RSOL”?  The group fights against all sex offender laws and the abolishment of sex offender registries because, says Mr. Shannon, of the “unnecessary pain caused to [sex offenders] …and the irrelevance of these laws to public safety.”
RSOL and its affiliates in other states seek to gain credibility by aligning themselves with emerging valid concerns about the need to reform certain sex offender policies, e.g. establishing differential responses to adolescent versus adult offenders.  However, these apologists also support changing the laws of consent, promoting the notion that sex between adults and children can be consensual and, if not violent, does no harm.
Why doesn’t Mr. Shannon’s frequent call for compassion for sex offenders and their families extend to child and adolescent victims and their families? The serious and long-term damage done to children who are sexually abused and exploited has been overwhelmingly documented. The resulting fiscal costs for health and mental health services, child protection, foster care, law enforcement and court costs are staggering.
If normalization of sexual behavior between adults and children is his ultimate vision, why doesn’t he acknowledge it and stop hiding behind his purported interest in protecting children?
Jetta Bernier, Executive Director
Massachusetts Citizens for Children
Robert CurleySomerville, MA

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