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When I spoke to the victim, he was shocked to learn of Roberts’s fate.He described the playground offense as an act of “public humiliation, instead of a sexual act”—a hurtful prank, but hardly a sex crime.Victoria knew the story, which Du Buc described as “play-acting sex,” in elementary school, with her younger step-siblings.Online browsers would see only the words on the page: “”A senior in college now, Du Buc was tired of hiding.”Her friend, who had just given birth to a baby girl, had logged on to the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry Web site to search for local predators.She had entered her Zip Code, and there was Leah’s face—her copper bangs, her wide cheeks, her brown eyes staring blankly from the photograph.
Many politicians still won’t go near the issue, but a growing number of parents—along with legal advocates, scholars, and even law-enforcement officials—are beginning to ask whether the registry is truly serving the children whom it was designed to protect.
He has counselled more than a hundred youths who are on public registries, some as young as nine.
He says that their experiences routinely mirror his own: “Homelessness; getting fired from jobs; taking jobs below minimum wage, with predatory employers; not being able to provide for your kids; losing your kids; relationship problems; deep inner problems connecting with people; deep depression and hopelessness; this fear of your own name; the terror of being Googled.” [cartoon id="a19772"]Often, juvenile defendants aren’t seen as juveniles before the law.
morning in 2007, Leah Du Buc, a twenty-two-year-old college student in Kalamazoo, began writing an essay for English class that she hoped would save her life.
She knew that people like her had been beaten, bombed, shot at, killed.
Roberts can still be found on a commercial database online, her photo featured below a banner that reads, “New technologies in the hands of teens are another route to the registry.