Mark Laflamme published a letter (Feb. 7) from a convicted sex offender, asking us to make our own assessment. Here’s mine.

Although the writer acknowledged the hurt that was caused to family, friends, co-workers and community, it was glaring that the writer did not acknowledge the devastation that the sexual assault or sexual abuse had on the victim or victims.

The victim(s) did not choose the behavior inflicted on them, but they will live with its impact for the rest of their lives. We see people every day who are dealing with the aftermath of this terrible violation. Being sexually abused or sexually assaulted can impact one’s mental, physical and emotional health for many years. Survivors struggle with fear, shame, depression, anger, betrayal, and a lack of safety in the world. It has been described as a murder of the soul.

Sex offenders who do not understand the impact of the crime and achieve a deep empathy for the victim(s) are at greater risk to commit the same kind of offense again. I worry that this sex offender falls in that category.

And so, the sex offender registry is designed to give us a tool to enhance community safety. It should never be used to threaten, harass, or harm anyone, and we participate in spreading that message.

However, the impact of being on the registry does not even begin to rise to the level of the profound impact that these crimes have on the victims.

Marty McIntyre, Executive Director

Sexual Assault Crisis Center, Androscoggin County

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