Insight From Oklahoma Sex Offenders May Help You Protect Your Child

Thursday, November 7th 2013, 11:05 pm
By: News On 6

It seems every time you turn on the news, another child molester is being arrested. Parents desperately want to know how to keep their children safe.

We went behind prison walls to ask sex offenders how they operate, so we can better protect children from people like them.

We mailed 600 offenders an 18-question survey. About 200 responded. They confirmed the real threat is not "stranger danger," it's inside your own home. All but one molested a child who is a relative or close friend, and it almost always happened inside the victim's own home.

When it came to keeping the child quiet, some simply asked the victim not tell, one threatened to kill the child, and others said they told the victim they'd get into trouble if they told.

Fifty percent of the sex offenders said they were victims of molestation themselves, all by someone they knew.

Most of them got caught because their victim finally told someone. Most victims told a grandparent.

Read The Survey Results And The Questions We Asked

When it comes to child sex offenders, many people believe society should lock them up and throw away the key. But the mindset of those who answered our questionnaire is that not all sex offenders are the same. They believe those who are in for child pornography or sexual texting should be treated differently from those who touched a child. To their way of thinking, those are not as bad as someone who raped a child.

Reporter Lori Fullbright: "What is the number one misconception you think that people have about sex offenders?"
Offender 1: "That we're all these evil people, waiting in the bushes, lurking. That we don't have feelings. I just wish people could understand that we're human beings."

One man we spoke to has served seven years for molesting his 5-year-old stepson in Canadian County. He has 14 more years to go and believes he deserves to be there.

He said, at the time, he was drinking and doing drugs, and after an intense year of therapy, he's now a different person.

Reporter Lori Fullbright: "How much do you worry about it--re-offending, or the possibility?"
Offender 1: "I don't want to even consider re-offending. I don't worry about it, because it's the last thing I want to do."

Many who responded told us their crime was based on the situation, something they now feel guilty about and will never do again, and they hope society will give them a fair shake when they get out.

"I thought when I was out there that what I was doing was a sexual thing and what I was doing wasn't harming anybody," one offender told us.

He has served nine years for molesting his stepdaughter in Rogers County. He gets out of prison this month. He was also in counseling for more than a year and believes he is no longer the person who lied and fooled those around him.

"Everybody that knew me, nobody could imagine that I had done what I did. Everybody was completely amazed," he said.

Most who answered the survey say sex offenders are people you know and trust and invite into your home.

One wrote this: "I am someone's dad, someone's brother and someone's husband. You would never guess I think a 10-year-old in a short skirt and knee socks is sexy."

They admit some offenders are sexual predators who will never stop.

One man who is serving a triple life sentence, plus 80 years, told us he could no more stop than an addict on crack.

He said, "[The victims] are not human beings to me, they are simply objects, like a remote control or a ham sandwich. They are a tool I use to satisfy a basic need. It's not about the sex, it's about total power and control over a victim."

WARNING: Disturbing Letter From A Sexual Predator

Reporter Lori Fullbright: "Do you even think there are people, some sex offenders, who shouldn't get out?"
Offender 1: "Yes, there are men here in this prison that I believe that should not ever get out, because not only were they predators out there, but are in here, too."

"I was sorry after I did it," another offender said.

He is in prison for the second time. The first crime involved a 10-year-old boy he babysat in Kay County. He went to prison, got out and met his next victim, a 15-year-old boy, in a hospital waiting room in Adair County. He gets out in 2015.

Reporter Lori Fullbright: "Do you think you can be around kids and not offend, not victimize?"
Offender 3: "I believe I can be around kids and not victimize them. Because I love kids and kids love me. If kids want to be around us, then why don't they just let them be around us? People say that kids don't know what they want, but I believe they do know what they want. It depends on how old they are, if we ought to give them what they want."

To show you the mindset of some of these offenders: several of them told us the victim came on to them.

This offender told us the 10-year-old boy he was babysitting seduced him.

"I didn't know her son that well, but my mom knew his mom. He drug me into this situation, and I felt like I couldn't get out of it, that I had to go ahead and do it," he said.

The advice for parents some of the offenders offered is to be actively involved in all aspects of your child's life.

They say, if you don't teach your child about sex, a sex offender will, and it's about more than good and bad touching, it's how they talk to them to groom them, telling them they're attractive and special and they have a special relationship others wouldn't understand.

Kids must be told they can and should say, "No," especially to people they know well.

Sex offenders are not only master manipulators of children, but of adults, too, so if you suspect anything, confront them.