Column #443 Come on in little kiddies. Be nice. Don’t swear. Enjoy friendly banter with a CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER!
Monday, February 25, 2013
Come on in little kiddies. Be nice. Don’t swear. Enjoy friendly banter with a CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER!
This column was first published in 2009. Ultimately and to their great credit, the “offending” darts forum rid itself of the sex offender who was frequenting the site. In recent months however this same individual has reappeared at a number of newer darts forums and, reportedly, has even begun showing up at tournaments. On Facebook he calls himself JD Maine. At darts websites he calls himself JD or JD3. In real life he is John Doyle.
But here’s who he really is: John Doyle.
Beware dart people!
Today’s question is: Can a privately owned (darts) website forum ban someone from participating for no reason other than that they have been convicted of a sex crime and are listed on the National Registry of Sex Offenders?
The answer, according to the legal experts is unequivocally yes. A privately owned website is by definition the personal electronic property of the owner and as such the owner is free to restrict access to whomever he or she wishes to for whatever reason. No legal right exists for someone to be able to use another’s personal property. In fact, one of the underlying tenets of personal property is to be able to exclude others from use if you so choose.
So, the law is clear. Just as a privately owned country club can deny membership to Jews or African Americans, any darts website owner in this country would be within his or her rights to ban the participation of any person for any reason whatsoever.
Whether one agrees with the law – whether one considers it to be fair or ethical, right or wrong – is an entirely different matter.
Now to the matter that prompted the above…
One might reasonably ask: Why does a certain darts website – which prides itself on being family-oriented – to the extent that screen names and avatars considered to be offensive by the owner are expressly prohibited and even the use of certain combinations of letters and words (however inadvertently strung together and without any intent whatsoever to offend) automatically cause a poster to be diverted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation website – continue to allow a convicted sex offender to wile away time in a forum that children frequent?
It’s a bit of a mystery.
Here are a few facts…
Well known to the owner and many of the moderators of the website in question is the knowledge that a certain male forum participant, when 34 years of age, was convicted of 1st Degree Sexual Abuse (against a 9-year old girl), served three years in prison, was released, is now listed on the National Sex Offender Registry, and considered a Sexually Violent Offender.
The individual concerned is not allowed to frequent places selling alcohol primarily for on site consumption. They are not allowed to hold a driver’s license. They must live by a curfew. And they are prohibited from contact with any child under 18 years of age.
Yet this individual is permitted by the website owner (who welcomes visitors to his site with, in part, the following words: Please bear in mind… that children read much of the site and… we try to moderate the site to keep it friendly and clean…) to hang out with the kiddies at his darts website.
Perhaps there is nothing unusual about this…
I think not.
Ponder for a moment just what is 1st Degree Sexual Abuse according to Section 130.65 of the Criminal Code of the state in which this individual was found guilty and convicted?
Here’s the definition: A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree when he or she subjects another person to sexual contact: 1) by forcible compulsion; or 2) when the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless; or 3) when the other person is less than eleven years old.
So… two questions arise:
First, although the law provides the owner the absolute legal right to ban the individual in question would it be fair and ethical, right or wrong, to do so?
Second, and perhaps even more important, is there something oddly incongruent, even hypocritical, about proclaiming your website to be a safe place for children while at the same time knowingly allowing the individual in question to spend time wandering about your property?
For many people, based on their own personal experience, there is often a fine line separating what is fair and ethical, right and wrong – so it is understandable that for some the answer to the first question can be difficult to find. My personal view is that while it is outrageous to ban anyone from anywhere on the basis of religion, race, or ethnicity it is equally outrageous not to severely limit the activities of individuals (regardless of whether they have “served their time”) who have a history and propensity for criminal sexual behavior, particularly directed at children.
But personal experience notwithstanding, the second question must be answered in the affirmative. Should the individual concerned be permitted to continue to frequent the website one must conclude that the owner’s family-oriented proclamations are little more than a sham to give the site a moral legitimacy it doesn’t deserve.
From the Field,
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