Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sexual Assault! Is it A Bigger Crime Then We Think?

St. Paul Man Charged in Sex Assault of Neighbor Boy

            All too often in this country children are being sexually assaulted.  We may expect this sort of behavior from a third world country, but not in our own backyard.  It seems that people are way too paranoid of sex offenders, even though many who receive treatment rarely sexually assault again. Unfortunately the cases we hear of are of sex offenders recommitting the same type of crime.  This is clearly shown in the case of Elijah Lewis Caliph.
            Caliph is a 60 year old man who was recently convicted of attempting to sexually assault an 11 year old boy in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The boy was getting off the bus one afternoon and was approached by Caliph.  Caliph asked him if he was interested in a free go-kart, and the boy was.  After luring the 11 year old to his apartment, Caliph attempted to unzip his pants, but before he made any more progress the boy fought back and ran from his apartment.   
            The police were soon called, and the 11 year old was able to give a detailed description of the man’s apartment.  When the police questioned Caliph, he denied ever talking to the boy. During a search of the apartment the police found a young man diagnosed with autism, later finding out the young man was a neighbor of Caliph’s.  The young man denied any claims of being assaulted by Caliph, and was one of Caliph’s neighbors.  Caliph claimed he was there for a football party, and other party goers hid in the closet when the police arrived.  The others were never found. 
            After further investigation, police obtained video surveillance showing the accused Caliph with the 11 year old boy in the lobby, entering an elevator.  Police are currently charging Caliph with Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.  Caliph has a prior charges, including rape, deviate sexual assault, and indecent liberties with a child.  This was back in 1980 in Illinois where he only served 6 years.  If convicted he could face up to 12.5 years in prison, and be mandated to pay up to 17,500 dollars in fines. 

            Going back to the original question, are the restrictions on convicted sexual offenders enough? I would have to say no.  In order to eliminate convicted offenders from re-offending, we need to get the point across the first time an individual offends.  This should possibly be done in a way that if people are punished hard enough, others will think twice before feeding their evil appetite. I also believe these people should be mandated to regularly attend therapy sessions to help overcome their mental illness.  Many jurisdictions seem to believe more in therapy, and “helping,” saying the individual is sick.  I believe more in punishment than therapy, but both are key in overcoming their sickness. 
            To put the number of registered sex offenders in perspective, Normal has 25 registered convicted offenders.  Bloomington on the other hand has 109 registered offenders.  I think by getting tougher on the criminal act, we will be able to lower these numbers in the future.



  1. I think it's important to remember that not all sex offenders are registered; there are many that evade detection for a long time and some who may never be caught. Another important thing to keep in mind is that many, if not all, of these offenders victimize more than one individual. I think more should be done to provide support for the survivors in addition to increasing the retribution/punishment of the offender.

  2. I agree that something needs to be done about the large number of sex offenders and sex offenses. Ideally harsher punishments for sex crimes would deter others from even considering committing the vulgar offenses. If long prison sentences could be used as both specific and general deterrence to the individual and to society as a whole, then the world would be a better place. However, I do not believe deterrence will stop the majority of future sex offenders. I do not think many offenders are rationale thinkers and if they were to balance the punishment over the pleasure they receive from committing these types of crimes they may still commit the crimes.

    At the same time I do believe our system is too lenient on sex offenders. Most offenders spend little or no time locked up in prison. A large number of these offenders, like Elijah Lewis Caliph, re-offend numerous times. In my opinion the only way to deal with the issue at hand is to bring more treatment to the prisons. Many sex offenders are not being treated in prison and, as a result, when they are released they repeat their behavior. Our state prisons need to treat these individuals for their mental deficiencies. They need to be rehabilitated before they are allowed back into the community. Those who are unable to be rehabilitated should remain in prison or in a treatment hospital. The only way to fix the problem is to treat it. It is, however, unlikely that our prisons will receive money to treat sex offenders, and as more treatment hospitals are closing the problem becomes even larger. Politicians may eventually deal with the issue by locking these offenders up and throwing away the key. But this too, is highly unlikely with the way our system is structured. Most sex offenders find their way out prison way too quickly. Incarceration of the offenders protects the community only for as long as they are behind bars.

  3. I taking CJS 337 sex offenders and we have learned that there are so many sex offenders that are not registered, or have not been caught. So you always have to be careful who you talk to or interact with. This is a very serious issue and needs a solution to it as soon as possible. But first we have to figure out what drive these offenders to commit these crimes

  4. I agree that something does need to be done about sex offenders. It is a very serious issue that needs to be dealt with, but I don't really think harsher punishments are the answer because I don't think that deterrence would be effective with this type of offender. I don't think that a sex offender is thinking rationally when he or she decides to commit an offense. Sex offenses are not rational. I think that we need to find out why these people commit these crimes and hopefully through that we can learn better ways to rehabilitate these people. I am sure some of these offenders should be locked up forever, but the ones that will not be need to receive more, better treatment programs while in prison.
    Also, I think that it is important to keep in mind that not everyone on the registry is a pedophile. I think that sometimes we tend to jump to that conclusion, but there are many other things that a person can do to be put on the registry.

  5. You should take the sexual offender class the teacher is amazing and you learn a lot of interesting things about sex crimes. I for a long time wanted to go in to the sex crime field. As of late, I really dont know if I would be able to do that. There are horrific crimes out there dealing with children.