Halloween and Sex Offenders - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Halloween and Sex Offenders


Halloween is a high risk time for sex offenders to repeat crimes. That's why police in Illinois and Iowa take extra precautions. But, Iowa and Illinois do not have laws restricting all sex offenders from Trick or Treating.

What both state's can do is ban offenders who are on probation, parole or work release from participating in Halloween activities. That means they cannot turn on porch lights to pass out candy. They also cannot go out Trick or Treating. Since supervised convicts wear GPS units, that's how authorities can track them.

But there are no laws in place to prevent unsupervised sex offenders from mingling with children. Therapists who work with sex offenders say this time of year is difficult for their clients. That's because there's such a high re-offense rate, and being around children can be tempting.

"Halloween in itself has a lot of high risk factors cause lots of children are out and about. It's one of those few nights a year where it's okay to take candy from strangers," says Stephen Draminski, Robert Young Center Therapist.

Being around so many children who are out Trick or Treating can sometimes spark urges in sex offenders. That's why it's better for them to stay away from the action on Halloween.

"Some sex offenders that have an identified interest in children, it probably wouldn't be a good idea."

There's still a lot of research being done about what causes offenders to target children. Some studies are focused on the brain, and how the minds of an offender functions differently than others. And there are other theories.

 "Some studies have some links between anti-social behaviors, criminal behaviors. Others can be because they were abused themselves."

There is treatment to prevent relapse. Part of that is keeping offenders out of risky situations, such as being in the streets on Halloween. But if sex offenders find themselves in high risk scenarios, they are taught to try and deal with it.

"We do a lot of work helping them deal with anger management, depression, anxiety and any other issues they may have and how to construct healthy relationships."

A few are successful, but a majority aren't. "For some sex offenders the reason they want to keep doing that is they're only way they have any sort of release. They don't have any other sexual interests in other areas that are considered to be more healthier."

All supervised sex offenders have been notified by their parole officers and therapists that they cannot have contact with children on Halloween. The rest will not be monitored.  Authorities say there's just no way to patrol the more than 600 registered offenders living in the Quad Cities.

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