Opinion editorial questions State Fair restrictions against SOs

By Sara Pequeno . . . In the face of a tragedy, it’s difficult to parse out the best course of action. Egregious acts of terror or deviance lead people to seek punitive justice without nuance. It’s how we ended up with mandatory minimums, and why we have to take our shoes off in airport security.

Sex offenders in particular are seldom given the nuance and rehabilitation we afford to other people with criminal histories. Their lives are forever affected by the convictions they carry, just like other people convicted of crimes. But unlike some others, they face additional punishment at the hands of the state, even after they’ve served their time. In North Carolina, residents who are registered sex offenders . . .  are not allowed to attend any agricultural fair, including the N.C. State Fair underway in Raleigh. . . . .

Laws like this come from an understandable desire to protect people, particularly children. The reality is that it’s a difficult law to enforce that does not differentiate between varying degrees of sex crimes, or take into consideration the everyday situations that are most responsible for childhood sexual abuse. Advocates for sex offenders see it as an extra burden that is not applied to other offenders with criminal records of violence. “It’s egregious and outrageous. It’s overkill,” Robin Vander Wall, president of North Carolina Association for Rational Sex Offense Law, said in a press release. “This is a matter of fundamental fairness and equal protection under both the state and federal constitutions.”   . . .

[U]nder the law, people convicted of crimes must serve their punishments. Once those punishments are fulfilled, they should be allowed to re-enter society. That’s how it works for other criminal offenses, and it’s the best way to reduce the number of people who re-offend. Even people convicted of manslaughter or assault are allowed to return to society and try to be better people. We don’t ban them from the fair.

Read the full  piece here at the News and Observer.

Robin Vander Wall

Robin is NCRSOL's president.

5 thoughts on “Opinion editorial questions State Fair restrictions against SOs

  • November 8, 2022 at 8:25 pm


    A tech domino has fallen and he comes in the form of a Mr. Gareriniof California.
    The Mr. is a member of their bar Association. Recently the CA bar sent a formal letter noticing all of his disbarment. This man was active in Silicon Valley startup scene.
    This is significant because discussion of the registration regime necessarily denotes the database underpinnings. It going to be very important for more of his dealings to come to light for the sake of liberty of All Americans. I express faith to that end. Take my gut’s word for it, such an investigation will tie him second hand to young master Salas of NJ and other crimes of the highest order. – Batman.

  • October 24, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    The database driven infrastructure, including state’s SORs, was built in haste and without the environmental studies normally demanded by the people before large infrastructure projects get approved. How ignorant does the Rehnquist court look now concerning the claim the registry database was an inert passive gov enterprise? Bullsh#t! Obviously the rush put through by the Byrne Grant folks played an important role in compelling states to jump on board the electronic registry train or lose a portion of federal funding. Take a good look at how the DDI has wholely enabled vast amounts of criminal activities. The DDI hasn’t incapacitated human trafficking & pimping, it has takin those kinds of criminal activity to a whole new level. And what about child pornography? Has the DDI diminished or increased the proliferation of that type of material? The answer is plain. Before the advent of the DDI mass shooting in schools and churches was a rare occurrence, but these days those atrocities are quite common. Do any of you actually believe the DDI played no role in that type of antisocial behavior? The concept of SOR was used to convince the people their leadership and big tech were looking out for them, that they had it all under control, but nothing was further from the truth. Today the people are more vulnerable than ever because they opted for network convenience at the expense of network privacy and security. How many TV and internet ads do we see by electronic firms claiming to provide security and safety. Too many to mention. Gee! I wonder why?

  • October 19, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    I agree whole heartedly. Drug dealers,murderers, methamphetamine dealers ETC are not banned from fairs. I committed my crime over the internet through interstate online chat 14 years ago. Been off probation since 2012 yet I can’t go to the fair, Dogwood Festival here in Fayetteville or Festival Park for an adult event serving Alchohol because I am on The Sex Offender Registry. The Registry is a money pit to keep Sheriff’s Officers gainfully employed, making the public feel safe and rape the taxpayers of hard earned tax $$$. State funding and federal funding comes from tax payers. The public is no safer with a Registry than without.

    • November 8, 2022 at 8:47 pm

      How dare they claim benefits for child rearing. That is going to be the key, as the founders knew. Nobody benefits from paranoia. Paranoia is not an emotion we need our kids to be feeling at all, especially when they are young. Too many young people fear authority and thus they get used or abused.

  • October 19, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Laws and regulations that don’t fit the crime only inflict more hardship and personal termoil to those whom are effected by it. If we allow those whom commit violent crimes to attend public functions with no restrictions then all should be allowed. Punishment ends when you leave prison. Not for your life time.


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