Sex Offender Registry Boils Down to Public Safety

As a former prosecutor of child sex offenders, I read with interest your article on "Leonard," a local sex offender who, being legally required to register as such on a sex offender registry, now finds himself the target of vigilante crimes ("Preying on Predators?" News & Features, May 3). I write to bring balance to the published perspectives.

I cannot advocate vigilante crimes. Our culture is uncivilized enough. But I cannot sympathize with Leonard either. He claims his "life has been hell because of all of this." To which I ask, just what is "all of this"? Leonard molested a child. Yet he seems to refer to conduct other than his own. In doing so he legitimizes the registry. His words reflect a common characteristic of child sex offenders, namely the tendency to either minimize or disown blame for illegal sexual contact. His victim's life continues, never to be the same because the ramifications of this type of offense are deep and broad.

Nevertheless, Leonard "feels victimized" because he is now the target of predatory conduct. His freedom has now been cut off to satisfy what he believes is hypocritical and politically incited public hysteria. In this day, policies restricting indulgence of our lusts and vices are increasingly unpopular. Nonetheless if, like Virginia's ACLU director, we believe that registry policy is "unsubstantiated by research," it is because we've overlooked studies, such as the 1980 Sturgeon and Taylor study which found that 53 percent of same-sex child molesters had committed previous sex offenses, with 43 percent for opposite-sex child molesters. In other words, sex offenders are more likely to reoffend than one might think.

The seemingly brief incarceration of some sex offenders may occur for a number of reasons. Still, each conviction's lasting benefit is that the sex offender must register. (Failure to register is a felony.) Having weighed community safety against offenders' rights, courts have found that community safety is priority. Registries alert families who might otherwise allow children to visit or be babysat by sex offenders who often possess an uncanny ability to secure the trust of adults and children alike. So, while Leonard's periodic inability to be safe is of some concern, the community's safety and the need to deter these crimes are, in my opinion, well worth the risk.

M.S. Vigilance

The Bread Is Baked Fresh From the Garden

As the owner of Bistro R, I feel compelled to correct the false assertion made in B.P. Fox's recent review regarding the source of our bread ("Fight for a Finish," Food & Drink, May 3).

When I first purchased the Bistro eight months ago, the bread was my first concern. Although it was delivered by a local bakery and was decent, it did not have the special quality I was looking for. The task proved to be more difficult than I had expected, and in desperation, Chef Michael finally e-mailed the chef/owner of one of the most acclaimed restaurants in town, asking for advice. This gentleman magnanimously put us in contact with the Flour Garden Bakery. This is a true artisanal bakery, with the bread proofed and baked daily from starter according to the number of orders for that day.

Flour Garden provides my sandwich breads, including the burger rolls and the baguettes that are used at dinner service. One of our waitresses, born in Paris and raised in Bordeaux, and notoriously blunt, has praised these baguettes as truly authentic. Yes, the crumb is light and fluffy, but that is as it should be. Flour Garden also bakes a denser, chewier campagne, but we found the baguettes to be a better choice. They are so good that I will often make a meal of one, sometimes alone and sometimes with pté. Fortunately, my customers seem to agree, and they will request two, three, four refills of the stuff.

I cannot say good enough things about Michael and his staff at Flour Garden. He even created a rye bread especially for me when I asked for it. We look forward to doing business with Flour Garden for many years to come.

A cursory trip to my Web site would show that I proudly announce our relationship with Flour Garden on the main page. Sometimes a little research can stave off embarrassment later.

Michael Hinerman

Liberals Mislabeled as Moderate Republicans

Like many other columnists, 'Rick Gray has mislabeled the opposing sides in the legislative taxation battle ("State Budget Overtime," Back Page, May 3). He refers to the conservative Republican majority in the House of Delegates and the Senate's more moderate Republican majority.

It seems to me that those opposing a four-thousand-million-dollar tax increase, desiring to maintain the status quo on taxes, should be viewed as the moderates. Those advocating a $4 billion tax increase should be labeled as radical, left-wing, liberal, etc.

I will never understand the mislabeling adjectives unless it reflects the agenda-driven bias of the author.

Max Maizels

Strip Club Not So Bad

Scott's Addition may well be historic and you may consider it stylish ("Scott's Addition Goes Topless Again," Street Talk, May 3), but to me it looks like a place where junkies go to die.

It's hard for me to believe Richard's Rendezvous' relocation will cause property values to drop like a paralyzed falcon.

James Seay


We misspelled the name Arthur Hash. ("Galleries," Night & Day, May 3). Style regrets the error.



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