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Aug-18-2006 02:57TweetFollow @OregonNews
Oregon Sex Offender Law Put Into QuestionKevin Hays Salem-News.com Op-Ed
Why aren't women convicted of misdemeanor sex crimes required to register as a sex offender in Oregon?
(SALEM) - For most of us, there are those inevitable memories of our younger more foolish days, fooling around in a parked car.
Do it today, and you could have a register for life as a sex offender in Oregon.
Well, three local adults who had consensual sex in a car in Salem, say Oregonians need a wake-up call on the state’s sex crimes laws.
All three couples were caught by police in Bush’s Pasture Park in Salem, and were convicted of Public Indecency.
In each case, both the men and women have to attend and complete a sex offender treatment program, take polygraphs, and are not to consume alcohol or do drugs.
However, only the men have to register as sex offenders, the women do not.
ORS 163.465 Public indecency. (1) A person commits the crime of public indecency if while in, or in view of, a public place the person performs:
(a) An act of sexual intercourse;
(b) An act of deviate sexual intercourse; or
(c) An act of exposing the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person.
(2)(a) Public indecency is a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection, public indecency is a Class C felony if the person has a prior conviction for public indecency or a crime described in ORS 163.355 to 163.445 or for a crime in another jurisdiction that, if committed in this state, would constitute public indecency or a crime described in ORS 163.355 to 163.445. [1971 c.743 §120; 1999 c.962 §1; 2005 c.434 §1]
163.466 Public indecency; felony; sentencing classification. The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission shall classify felony public indecency as a person felony and crime category 6 of the sentencing guidelines grid of the commission. [1999 c.962 §3]
Note: 163.466 was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 163 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.
Reporters note: All of the couples we interviewed wished to remain anonymous.
They were all caught in a public parking area of Bush Park having sex.
All were arrested, and convicted in Marion County of Public indecency, Class A misdemeanor.
For all three it was their first run in with the law.
One of the women has the couple's two kids, her husband cannot have contact with the kids until the treatment provider determines his past and current sexual history.
She asks how is that fair, "That my husband has to register and I don’t? How stupid to be arrested and charged for just having a little innocent and consensual fun in the car."
There was nobody else in the park.
Don’t police have better things to do than to search parks for adult couples fooling around?
One of the men said there are more couples in Oregon dealing with this than you would think.
He said that he knew of at least ten other couples going through the same thing they are. Men have to register, the women don’t. Unfair! He said.
One of the other men said this is something the media and the courts have hidden from the public for years because if the public knew the truth, authorities in Oregon would have a lot of questions to answer.
I believe once people read this, authorities and public official's phones are going to be ringing off the hook demanding answers. The law needs to change.
We have let ridiculous laws ruin lives based on the fear that every sex offender is dangerous, so when they pass sex crime laws in this state, they throw this one in, without telling the public about it, why?
Because if Joe Public knew this, they would demand the law be changed.
Another one of the men put it this way: "There isn’t anyone in the state, including the Governor, who hasn’t fooled around in a car in a public place at some point in their life. So you can pretty much call everyone in Oregon a sex offender."
And the public should be asking why women who are convicted of sex crimes in Oregon, for the most part, are getting a free pass from having to register as a sex offender.
Only the predatory ones have to do so, those charged with lesser crimes are not, it’s the truth. Now the public knows and if people speak up, the state and district attorneys are going to have a lot of questions to answer.
One of the women finished with, "Right or wrong, we got caught and we have to live with our punishment. But just how far will the lawmakers in Oregon go to make every adult sexual activity that is consensual a sex crime?"
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