Though this blog is was originally intended as a resource for offenders in Massachusetts, much of what I write about is applicable to sex offenders in every other state and many countries around the world, especially in Western Europe. Even other non-sex offenders trying to navigate prison, probation and parole, or employment and education opportunities can glean relevant information from this blog and apply it to help overcome their own struggles.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Too dangerous, too much bad press

Boston Globe article: Video Maker had sordid past, strong advocates  This story has been picking up steam the past week here in Boston since the story pushes many buttons around here.

So it's been almost 20 years since Peter E. Benjamin had left prison, completed a vigorous sex offender treatment program, and rebuilt his life and professional career. Though he has garnered the attention of zero complaints of inappropriate behavior with his work at the New England Conservatory or any of his other clients over those two decades, it was determined Mr. Benjamin was too dangerous and, no doubt, too much bad press for the NEC continue to contract the services of this level 2 registered sex offender. It's not a stretch to think that many of his other clients and prospects will follow in the footsteps of the Conservatory. To think he was an immediate danger to minors at NEC is assuming too much.

As someone who is about 15 years on from my offense, what concerns me is the incorrect and baseless public belief of perpetual dangerousness for all who have committed a sex offense against a minor, that I'm always on the cusp of reoffending against another child if I were put in an opportune position for a moment. Those who work with sex offenders and know the research and literature know this simply is not the case and that level of dangerousness is only pertinent to a fractional percentage of sex offenders. Yeah, Mr. Benjamin was being risky by working around minors in some fashion - being risky more so with his career rather than re-offendeing (its been reported on 90% of his time was spent with graduate students).  His story is a not-so secret fear of and a cautionary tale for many registered sex offenders who rehabilitate and work to create a new, happy and prosperous life for themselves. I hope that Mr. Benjamin avoids the social and professional death that can come with this recent attention, carrying on with a life and career in Boston he rebuilt with the help of others. We should all want any type of offender to rehabilitate, reintegrate, and lead happy, productive and healthy lives, contributing to the community in which we live.

Readers Note:  I don't usually publish the names of other local sex offenders on my blog but this story is very public and front page news from the regions largest newspaper.