Holshouser: We Need A Sex Offenders Register

July 22, 2012

The danger that paedophiles and other sexual deviants pose to children and young people is a rapidly-growing issue in Bermuda and we should find a way to institute a public register of sex offenders, said Suzann Roberts-Holshouser, the OBA candidate for St. George’s South Constituency #4.

Speaking in the Senate on July 18th, Attorney General Kim Wilson said that Bermuda’s laws, which are modeled on UK law, do not allow for the establishment of an American style sex offender register.

Minister Wilson said while there are provisions for notifications in individual cases, “this protocol and the law operate on the presumption that information should not be disclosed because of the risk of preventing a sex offender from living a normal life and the danger of vigilante justice.”

Ms Roberts-Holshouser said: “I am sure I am not alone in my dismay at the Attorney General’s negative and depressing statement to the Senate last week, in which she essentially ruled out any chance of a public register of sex offenders being established in Bermuda,”

“The danger that paedophiles and other sexual deviants pose to children and young people is a rapidly-growing issue in Bermuda. This should not be a surprise to anyone.

“Although official Police statistics say there were under 100 cases of child sex abuse reported to them in 2009, Martha Dismont, director of the Family Centre, feels that Police figures reflect severe under-reporting. She told a committee of the legislature recently that cases of child abuse and neglect are probably 10 times greater than the official figures.

“The Police themselves have said (a spokesman for the Juvenile and Domestic Crime Unit to a teacher-orientation session in 2005) that it is likely that one in every three female children and one in five male children in Bermuda have been sexually abused. Even if one ignores the apparent tendency to under-report sexual abuse, those are absolutely horrifying figures.

Ms Roberts-Holshouser continued: “The lesson for politicians, especially the Government, is that public concern about sex offenders isn’t confined to a politically insignificant number of families; it affects almost every family in Bermuda. A better candidate for political insignificance is the number of people who aren’t affected in some way.

“Senator Kim Wilson takes the concerns of these people lightly at her peril. Her colleagues know that. Many members of the Progressive Labour Party have said, or intimated, that they would be in favour of a public register. Her predecessor as Attorney General, Michael Scott, didn’t go that far, but he publicly admitted that the present law should be strengthened.

“What Senator Wilson said in her statement last week was true, but nowhere near the whole story.

“She said that we follow English law, which goes out of its way to protect the individual’s right to privacy. English law does not allow a public register of sexual offenders, and therefore Bermuda’s law cannot, either.

“That’s correct. But it is also true that law, like everything else, is always in a state of evolution. The law in England was amended in 2008, as a result of public outcry over the rape and murder of a little girl called Sarah Payne, to allow for an expanded use of the UK register of sex offenders. Anyone who fears their child is being exposed to a sex offender in some way is entitled to ask the Police for information about that person. If the police agree the fears are reasonable, they are permitted to turn the offender’s record over.

“Bermuda has a register of child sex offenders. It is part of the Children Act 1998. The difference between Bermuda and Britain is that here, only child care professionals are entitled to obtain an offender’s record. No child care professional has ever done that, apparently, so it could be said that our register is more or less useless. Whether it is even properly kept up is not known.

“Bermuda’s choice is not simply to allow for a public register or not, as Senator Wilson intimated. We also have the ability to amend our law to bring it into line with current best practice in the UK.

“I personally am strongly in favour of a completely public register of sex offenders. I think many, if not most Bermudians, agree with me. I cannot believe that people as inventive and resourceful as Bermudians are incapable of finding a way to accomplish that. My party, the One Bermuda Alliance, will certainly not rest when we become the Government, until we have done just that.

“But in the meantime, I am not so determined to have my own way that I would not approve of Senator Wilson simply amending our law to improve it to the extent she feels it can be improved. Anything would be an improvement over our current useless effort.

“This is a serious issue. If we can believe the unofficial estimates, the damage caused to individuals and families by sexual abuse is incalculable. Let’s get serious about doing something to put a stop to it, Senator Wilson,” concluded Ms Roberts-Holshouser.

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Comments (46)

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  1. Endofdaysiscoming says:

    I totally agree with you Ms. Houlhouser. I really hope this comes to be

    • Garry Marshall says:

      Yes i totally agree with a sex offenders list, also they should do away with the cant be named because of this or that reason once they have been proven guilty, YES name them in all the news media and put them on the traveling STOP list as well.
      GRM

  2. hmmm says:

    Ms Holshouser is playing politics as she and her OBA colleagues often do.

    Thankfully they won’t be the govt so her comments are irrelevant.

    • Barracuda says:

      plp done dun

    • jojo says:

      really, thankfully?? You don’t have much to be thankful these days under the current plp govt either!!

  3. sigh says:

    Ms Holshouser and the OBA continue to be disingenous and offer up “things the OBA will do if in government” knowing full well some of their offerings are unable to be done. They say these things in hope that the public will fall hook line and sinker for what they are selling but thankfully the public are smart enough to know when they are being sold something bad.

  4. sigh says:

    In addition, i live in constituency 4 and I am pissed that the OBA allowed Ms Holshouser to run Donte Hunt out of here to a losing seat. He worked hard for us in Constituency 4, and Ms Holshouser who had lost her seat to Lovitta Foggo in 2007 is allowed to just walk into this new seat.

    BRING BACK DONTE!

    • Rick Rock says:

      Wow, think of all those people in C30 who are ‘pissed’ that Zane is moving over to C29.

  5. pony says:

    Clearly she has not done her homework on this issue. What she is trying to implement a “feel good” law, a law that doesn’t accomplish anything positive in terms of public safety, and makes people feel as though it does. Most offenders aren’t likely to reoffend, and some simply made a mistake. Yes there are some sick disturbing individuals who are offenders, but some offenders are genuinely good people who are trying to live a normal life instead of being branded as a mistake they made. People have died because of vigilantes as they are called look up the public register, find an offender, and kill him. If an offender can’t get a job or a stable place of residency due to restrictions on where he/she can work or live that leaves that person in poor living conditions. Most children who are sexually abused are done so by someone they know and trust, and most sex crimes are performed by people who weren’t offenders in the first place. Sex offenders are treated worse than murderers, there isn’t a murder registry, nobody has to restricted from living near a school who has murdered a child.

    • Real Talk (original) says:

      Are you kidding me!? People who commit sexual offences against children are largely unable to be rehabilitated. Robbing a minor of their innocence can be hardly deemed making a ‘mistake’.

      People have died because of vigilantes!? Booohooo. Cry me a friggin river.

      Sex offenders are the lowest of the low.

      Bring on the sex offenders registry.

      Put the politics aside and support this initiative.

      • pony says:

        You obviously haven’t done your research either. It is not only people who have offended against children. Sometimes there is a case that involves a guy dating a teenage girl who has been having consensual sex with her but her parents find out and call the cops. Sometimes a teenage girl lies about her age and has sex with a man and when he doesn’t want to be with her anymore she calls the cops. Sometimes a teenage girl is teasing a guy and dressed provocatively or shows her female parts to him and gives him the wrong idea and when he touches her she calls the police. I am highly against sexual crimes against children, but when it is a mistake and it involves a teenage girl who has done one of the things I mentioned the guy shouldn’t be punished the rest of his life. It hasn’t been long since I have been a teenage girl myself and believe me when they have sex with a. Guy they know what they’re doing. People need to stop being ignorant and hateful.

        • Zombie Apocalypse says:

          pony, a guy dating a an under-age girl and having sex with her is committing statutory rape. Let’s call it what it is. An under-age girl is unable to “consent” to sex. It doesn’t matter if she is attractive or wears provocative clothes. The law is designed to protect under-age girls (and boys, actually), and prevent the exploitation of them.

          • pony says:

            Perhaps according to the law they are unable to consent, but according to nature they are fully able to consent.

            • Zombie Apocalypse says:

              “according to nature”? Which means what, exactly? That a cunning 22-year-old can “in nature” persuade a naive 14-year-old into agreeing to sex? That a pedophile is off the hook as long as they get the child to consent?

              The law exists to protect the under-age child whether they agree or not to sex. The child’s actions are irrelevent. Sex with someone under-age is illegal.

            • jojo says:

              Well then isn’t that why we have laws? Like Zombie said, to prevent the exploitation of children. Is it, at the end of the day, the responsibility of the consenting ADULT (who should know better) to make the decision — hmm, she looks young, to avoid getting in trouble I really should find out how old she REALLY is!) And, if then they make the choice to just go along with it, then he/she should be persecuted to the fullest extent!! plain and simple. All this nonsense is protecting the monsters when we really should be protecting the innocent children. You go on to say about people doing research when you clearly haven’t done yours, these offenders rarely ‘genuinely good people who are trying to live a normal life instead of being branded as a mistake they made’….genuinely good people just DONT MAKE THOSE MISTAKES!!!!! it is SICK! there is just NO JUSTIFICATION!!!!!

            • Real Talk says:

              So hypothetically speaking, if a 12 year old girl gives a grown man her number and they engage in conversation and he subsequently tries to get her to perform oral sex on him, is that a mistake or “nature”?

              Your argument is akin to blaming the rape victim for being violated by a man because her skirt was too short.

              It’s a disgusting argument and one which definitely shouldn’t be used in the context of child/adult interactions. The reason there is an age of consent and laws against sex with minors is that society is 1. regulating what is acceptable behaviour and 2. protecting individuals who need it (both from themselves and from others who ought to know better (ie, adults).

              Interfering with a child is not a mistake. Spilling my coffee on my keyboard is a mistake.

              Your attempt to twist and justify this behaviour is appalling…

    • Navin Johnson says:

      Yet you know who every murderer is right? How about those who may molest your children? Would you rather stand by and wait for the PLP to do nothing as is there norm? Only the PLP could try to make sexual predators a good thing maybe they care more about their vote

      • pony says:

        Child molestation is a serious issue, and is never ok, but no amount of monitoring is going to prevent it.people who are trying to lead normal lives or be law abiding citizens again register. The ones who prey on random children usually avoid it. In the end it takes people watching their children and monitoring who is around their children closely to prevent things ike at from happening. just because someone isn’t a sex offender doesn’t mean they wont commit sexual crimes against children, jerry sandusky wasn’t a sex offender when he raped forty something little boys and he wasn’t a stranger to them either.

        • Real Talk says:

          Question: Do you think the parents of a little girl would have permitted her to be driving around with a convicted sex offender had they actually known about his prior convictions?

          Yes, the vast majority of offenders are people known to the victim. People who are trusted. They are relatives, teachers, coaches, etc.

          Do you not think that the shame of a public register in a small community like Bermuda may act as a deterrent? What about the ability for parents, etc to know that the seemingly friendly neighbour next door actually has a problem with young children and has a conviction on his record?

          About 10 years ago I knew where convicted child rapist and killer, Chesterfield Johnson was living. Now that I am a parent and living in the same neighbourhood he previously lived in, I do not know whether he is around anymore. Hell, I don’t even know what he looks like! How do you think that makes me feel as a parent?

    • Rick Rock says:

      pony, a “mistake” is when you inadvertently put on mis-matching socks.

      It is not a “mistake” when you repeatedly rape a 12 year old.

      Do you see the difference?

      • pony says:

        No it is not a mistake when you repeatedly rape anyone or even rape them once and I never said it was. Repeat offenders shouldn’t be allowed back into society, but one time pyrenees who made a simple mistake should be able to reconstruct a normal life.

        • jojo says:

          So, in ‘Pony’s Laws’.

          You offend once. You are allowed back into society to reconstuct your life, after a ‘simple mistake’ < WHAT?!

          Within a year, you offend again.

          Now what??? its all got to start somewhere! and what if they dont get caught the actual first time, and say that that was the first time?

          one time pyrenees who made a simple mistake…smh

          if it was your 4 year old it wouldn't be such a simple mistake huh??

        • Mad Dawg says:

          Pony, sex with an under- age person is rape.

  6. Michael H. Dunkley says:

    @ hmmm…nice attitude stating that someone’s comments are irrelevant. Furthermore Mrs. Holshouser has always been an advocate on this issue! Finally, the voters will have the say on election day and it is my opinion that in C 4 they will support a candidate like Mrs Holshouser who has always put people first!

    • Bda Nanny says:

      Dunkley,

      You are right….this woman is doing for the better and prevention of somthing happening to a child or young person and you are complaining. We as a community need to solve and prevent issues….if you are not willing to be part of a solution then see you way out…….

    • welldone says:

      Mr Dunkley, why no comment on how Donte Hunt was moved from C4 to C6?

      • Rick Rock says:

        welldone, any comment on why Zane was moved from C30 to C29?

    • I ask? says:

      Mr. Michael Dunkley why didn’t you and the other people that ran this country when the UBP was in charge fix this problem?

      • mrwiggin says:

        I think what you mean to say is why has the party that has been in power for the last 14 years not fixed this problem?

      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        Was the OBA in charge prior to 1998 then? Was Michael Dunkley in charge? Was Ms Holshouser in charge? Remind me. You seem to be such an expert.

        Also, while you’re replying, can you think of a reason why the PLP government couldn’t right now “fix this problem”?

        • swing voter says:

          Where have you been living in a box on the streets of NYC before you came to Bermuda? Michael & Holshouser were the people runnning this Country back in the day.

          • Mad Dawg says:

            In 1998 the UBP Premier was Pam Gordon and the Depty Premier was Jerome Dill. You have been listening to too much PLP propaganda. I don’t know what Dunkley and Holshuoser were doing, but they weren’t running the country.

            And the other point still stands. The PLP have been in power 14 years and could have done something about this. Or could do it now.

        • lol says:

          You must be on a 6 year work permit for you not to know the Milk Man was one of the UBP boys back in the time of the slaves.

  7. Common Sense says:

    Hmmmm. It seems that some people want us to believe that ANY opinion on ANY subject by any Opposition MP or Senator is “playing politics” and should not be made.

    I suspect that Senator Holhouser’s comments reflect the views of many, many people in Bermuda, and she is not only entitled to make them, but it is her duty to speak on the issues and to let us know what she believes in. As we say, “You go girl.”

  8. Winnie Dred says:

    Wow can’t fathom how some posters view this as some sort of political game,this is a real issue and Susan has advocated long before she got into the representational side of politics. It is funny how many dumb laws (yes there are a few) have been passed over the years, however the real laws which affect our everyday lives are never tabled even when public sentiments call for such. Our elected leaders must remember they are voted in place to carry out the will of the people.

  9. Mad Dawg says:

    Ms Holshouser is a caring individual and she is obviously right about this. The government needs to change the law, rather than look for excuses to leave things as they are.

    It’s pretty interesting. A lot of the time the die- hard PLP commenters say “the OBA never tells us what they would do “. Yet when someone comes out and says what the OBA would do if lected, the PLP supporters say they’re ‘playing politics’. Of course, anyone can pretty easily see through the tactics. It’s obvious who is actually ‘playing politics’.

    Ms Holshouser, this is an important issue. Thanks for taking up the issue. You’re right, and you have a lot of support on this.

  10. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    The AG has LIED!
    That’s a FACT!
    does she really believe that all the Bermudian public are idiots.
    Anyone can see that there is a Register in the UK.

    If the Bermudian public cannot see that the plp are a bunch of liars and only out to further their own needs and allow these parasites back into power,you can kiss the Bermuda you know GOODBYE!

  11. pony says:

    Can someone PLEASE explain to me how the laws are going to help with public safety AFTER they have done research on current u.s sex offender law effectiveness

    • Rick Rock says:

      Ah, pony, you wish that people would speak AFTER having done some proper research. So you are evidently unhappy with the announcement by Kim Wilson then.

      • pony says:

        No, but if you dont mind please summarize it for me.

        • jojo says:

          WOW you really gotcha head in de rocks!! Kim Wilson basically said (apparently even without research pony!)that Bermuda cant get a sex offender registry because the UK doesnt have one and our laws here are mirrored on UK laws. WRONG! She LIED because the UK does in fact have one! However, it is not 100% public, accessible only by law enforcement, doctors, etc, the relevant people. We could at least get that, which is a step up from what we currently have. It’s something! Funny how we are ‘embracing our colonist ties’ now that it is convenient!!!!! PLP rarely is concerned about what UK laws at other times! Eg when ‘we’ invited the Uighurs to come on down!

  12. Extremely Disgruntled says:

    Be careful what you wish for. If you base your registry on the US, be prepared to PAY for it. Yes, some will say yes, any cost. But be reasonable. No registry is there to prevent any crimes. Basically if you list the child victim offenders, it will be solely comprised of family members and people CLOSE to the victim. The family should already know. Listing only REPEAT offenders who are actually let out of prison is a more justifiable listing. Some offenders, not all, are incurable. Do some more research, especially if you are looking at the US version, go to the USDOJ website and check the public information for yourself on what a registry actually does. Is there an actual bang-for-buck? Research before you conclude, THEN think of worthwhile and effective ways to lower, if not eliminate the abuse. Don’t pass a feel-good law that doesn’t do anything but destroy that offenders family also. Legislate accordingly. Individual-basis for the application of those laws etc.
    Use your brains not your emotions. Decide what is best for the victims, AND to prevent recidivism.

  13. tricks are for kids says:

    She hasn’t said anything new…EVERYONE has said the we NEED a Sex Offenders Registar…is SOMEONE going to make it a reality????

    And as far as following British Laws……..We use them when we WANT to or when we WANT TO AVOID the real issue…we follow American and Canadian models when it comes to Education…..So why not in this case????

  14. Average Bermudian Male says:

    Check out “Bermuda Pedos” on Facebook. A Bermudian guy is posting their faces along with their committted offences.