Letters to the Editor

From the week of December 19, 2002

The difference here is that while sex offenders can hardly deny causing substantial harm to someone, many drug offenders must make up imaginary victims to gain therapeutic value from treatment. One example is where counselors claim drug dealers cause harm to users while at the same time claiming users are responsible for the acts of dealers, gangs and now terrorists. Interestingly, addicts who rob and steal for their habit are easier to treat because they have genuine remorse for their actions. Addicts who use and don't bother anyone must build themselves up as worse than they really are in order to gain any of the remorse necessary for treatment. The article also made it clear that the problem of sexual predators, while far more devastating, receives less attention. Not long ago, the Colorado Supreme Court found one class of offender exempt from mandatory parole: sex offenders.

If our society is to be safe, we must focus all of our law-enforcement resources on criminals who cause direct injury to persons and property. Attempting to regulate behavior that does not cause such injury takes away from the ability to deal with truly dangerous individuals.

Keep up the quality reporting.

David Noland

He did it his way: Clearly, Teaching Humane Existence is doing a good job for both the community and the sexual predator. By focusing the predator and us on the central issue -- sex offenders' persistent danger to the community -- T.H.E.'s program is right on. Allow the criminal to choose a "feel-good" treatment? I don't think so. Why should he have it his way? Remember, he already had his way with his victims.

Too many mental-health professionals (e.g., Tedeschi) treat sexual predators' behavior like a case of acne: Clean up the diet and the unsightly condition will go away. Give hope, remove depression, and they will stop being social deviants. Wrong!

Jargon's article states: "In July 2001, Rosberg went to his first group therapy session at T.H.E. And that, he says, is when he really started serving time." In my opinion, this is proof that T.H.E.'s program is effective. Let's hold sexual predators accountable with programs such as T.H.E. It's all about controlling and containing them.

Mary Ellen Anderson

Worst-case scenario: Julie Jargon unfortunately has disseminated a large amount of inaccurate information. She and Westword have created a circus-type environment around a serious public-health problem by using the majority of the space in "Arrested Development" to provide a platform for a repetitive pedophile who sees himself as the victim.

A common belief is that a society can judge itself by how it treats its "worst" members, and within the minds of most individuals, sex offenders fit the description of "worst." Whether sex offenders are the "worst" or not, it is patently irresponsible to not consider them as producers of great harm. Teaching Humane Existence (T.H.E.) strives to be humane toward all involved parties, including the sex offender and the community. Our methods of treating and managing sex offenders are not only humane, but also responsible.

Rather than go through the inaccuracies within ďArrested DevelopmentĒ bit by bit, I will try to explain that our methods of treating and managing sex offenders are not only humane but also responsible.

While we treat a wide range of sexual offending behavior, we primarily focus on repetitive adult male sex offenders. The research supports that these abusers are the most dangerous and produce more harm on a per-person basis. Having harmed others is precisely the reason they are in treatment. Every sex offender who comes to us does so because he has been caught and/or is in some phase of being prosecuted and convicted for sexually abusing other people. The offenders are court-mandated into treatment, a place they do not want to be. What they want is to get out of treatment as soon as possible and regain control of their lives. They are ordered into treatment to stop inflicting pain on others, not for the pain they may have in their own lives. Of course, most sex offenders have personal pain, but research, state-of-the-art treatment and common sense dictates that if we are going to be able to help the sex offender, we must first focus on stopping his abusive behaviors.

Ms. Jargon took on the task of determining whether or not T.H.E. lives up to its name. When I began this work, I discovered most of my clients had not been addressing critical questions about their abusive behaviors. Essentially, the offenders were not discussing the specific details of their offending behavior, yet these details were the thoughts occupying their minds. The offender also did not want to discuss the details of their offending behavior, because they typically wanted to portray themselves as bothered by that which, in reality, they truly enjoyed. Part of what makes T.H.E.'s treatment humane is the degree to which we focus on the details of the sexual offender's deviancy and his abusive behavior, with the purpose of offering him the chance of becoming an empathetic and caring person.

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