The "Hot Sex Offenders" List: An Explanation and Apology

Categories: Crime

Our item about the "10 hottest women" on Texas' sex offender list has understandably generated a lot of controversy.

Here was the genesis of the idea. Last week I spoke to two veteran child-porn prosecutors for a Q&A on how they do their jobs -- how they deal with looking at such horrific evidence -- and how parents can protect their children from being exploited.

They talked of how child predators don't fit any category -- the people they prosecuted included successful lawyers and doctors, as well as unemployed losers.

It triggered an idea about how people have a preconceived notion of what dangerous predators "always" look like -- slovenly fat guys in T-shirts asking kids if they wanted a ride -- and how best to shake that notion up.

An item on "10 sex offenders who don't look like sex offenders" might have done the trick, but seemed boring.

In an attempt to catch attention (and yes, eyeballs and clicks), I thought of the ten hottest female sex offenders. "Hottest" because it's a Web-headline staple for such listicles.

I also wrote an over-the-top intro, trusting that the outrageous headline (Anything putting "hottest" near "sex offenders," I thought, would clearly show over-the-topness) would indicate this was fully intended to shock.

That's why I made the conscious decision to include the victims' ages: To show that "normal-looking" people, people you could pass any day on the street -- or who you might think are "hot" -- are capable of monstrous things.

Glamorizing or trivializing child rape? It did not cross my mind that I was doing that. It should have, it now seems clear.

That was never the intent. I hope that would be obvious, but it seems not.

No one ever likes apologies to "anyone who was offended" because they seem halfhearted. I can only say the intention was to shock (in what I hoped would be a positive way) and not to offend. To a lot of people, I failed miserably. I can understand that, and I apologize to them.

My Voice Nation Help
173 comments
isfearitself
isfearitself

You sole purpose was to shock and get people to read you article.  You then went and labeled everyone with the misfortune of getting labeled a "sex offender" as a child rapist.  For that you should be fired.  The "Sex Offender" listing and laws are so out of proportion to the threat that exists that all you have done is add fuel to the fire for crazies in the mob and legislature.  Of the hundreds of thousands of American citizens now on these scarlet letter "sex offender registries", only about 5% are dangerous and a threat to anyone's children.  The majority of the people on the list did something stupid and are now ruined and prohibited from getting on with their lives because the media and politicians continue to fan the flames and keep people afraid of the 'boogey man" myth of the hordes of child rapists lurking in their neighborhoods.  You are a disgrace and should be fired.

  academic proofreadingservice
  academic proofreadingservice

You made several good points there. I did a search on the issue and found nearly all people will have the same opinion with your blog. 

Paul Elam
Paul Elam

How about we make a list of the ten most disgusting and disingenuous writers passing off fake apologies while they leave the thing they apologized for up and running.

Could you motherfuckers be any more full of shit?

gwallan
gwallan

Mr Connelly and Houston Press...

I am a survivor of childhood rape by an aunt, a long time advocate for rape victims and a board member with a statewide rape crisis service. I am able to speak with some authority as to the long term impact of child sexual abuse.

I can assure you that this production is not beneficial to victims and will almost certainly add to the harm already caused to some or all of those victims from your "list". You make yourself a contributor to the harm their experience of abuse causes them. It begs the question as to why you should be considered any better than any of those abusers.

I will be writing to similar organisations to my own in your locality alerting them to your actions.

gwallan
gwallan

@Clarence...

"Baby rapist" is your choice of words. Do not attribute that to me. YOU should note that "nazi propagandist" could be viewed as inflamatory also.

However I will make a note that I must use the word "molester", or some other descriptor, rather than "rapist" else I upset Clarence's nit picking sensibilities.

In calling me a liar you are pointing the finger at the wrong target. I'm reacting to the bad acts of Richard Connelly and Houston Press just as you are. 

I get it that you don't like sex offender registries. I don't like them much either. They create a default life sentence. As we've seen here they can be misused. They probably should not be publically accessible at least. I would also agree with you that there are probably some folk on those registers who should not be there.

The fact remains that Connelly and Houston Press showed no consideration to the real human beings(including the "perps") involved in their random selection/publication or the possible impact on them. Even the anonymous labelling is worthless. The victims themselves know who they are as will their local communities. That makes dubious any claim that they did it to help victims or anybody else but themselves.

Optimo Ram
Optimo Ram

 Oh damn, yall are some whiny bitches. This was a funny story and all you folks get too damn offended about stuff. If we can't laugh at ourselves and our society, how can we laugh at anyone. What a bunch of judgmental assholes that read this publication. If you don't like an article, just don't read it. Quit getting so damn offended about stuff. 

Thats what's wrong with this country, we are a society of whiny easily offended people who feel they are entitled to an apology and something free for their inconvenience. Just don't read things that sound like they might offend you if you are the type to be easily outraged. Get over yourselves. I'm talking to YOU hipsters! The majority of people who read this and feel their are not racist and ignorant because they vote democrat and are "P.C." People like this are just as judgmental if not more so than the conservatives they disdain. If I end up doing something and offending a lot of people, and I probably will, Don't expect an apology from me. I'm sad you felt you had to apologize to all these Douche Bags, but I imagine the bosses were pissed. 

And if this offends you, SUCK ITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT. - Optimo Ram

And PS none of these chicks were even close to being hot, maybe my standards are just too high. 

gwallan
gwallan

You find kids being sexually abused to be "funny"?

The problem you have with "these chicks" isn't their lack of "hotness". They're clearly way too old for your liking.

TeamCropDusters
TeamCropDusters

You are a fucking lying piece of shit Richard Connelly. You wrote this solely for the 'clicks and eyballs' and when there was a public outcry you back tracked like the little bitch you are (and were obviously raised to be). Not only are you a piece of a shit, you are also a fucking pussy.

I hope no other publication ever considers you for future employment and that you are fired for writing this trash.

Exploiting these victims for 'clicks and eyeballs' is disgusting and morally reprehensible.  Your job as a journalist is to present the facts and not to dress it up for more clicks, resulting in more advertising revenue.

You are a low life scumbag. I hope I happen to run into you, in person, one day you sick fucking bastard. Someone needs to teach you some decency and manners, because obviously your piece of shit parents didn't.

stu
stu

You people are uptight.

Scott Henson
Scott Henson

If your intention was to shock, you decidedly did not fail! Mission Accomplished! Maybe GW Bush would loan you that banner. :)

Willhubbell
Willhubbell

 So your intent was to spread fear but you got a lot of people angry instead. Looks like the only way to win this game is to not play.

Nickchodzinski
Nickchodzinski

You need better taste, in many ways. These women are nasty, again, in many ways. I am not offended by the story, as I fought for the right to have freedom of speech. Society will always find something to whine and complain about so don't sweat it. But honestly, if these were the most attractive offenders you could find, its scary...and it speaks for the type of people who commit these crimes, which kind of contradicts the purpose of your story...

Peter John
Peter John

I am very grateful that you published this list. It clearly emphasizes the problem of bias in sex offenses. Everything issue how much people should fear already convicted offenders, to weight of stereotype in expensive legislation, to explaining the empirically established ineffectiveness of sex offender registration programs coalesce into this one concisely demonstrative article. This exceeds journalism to qualify as art in an editorial mode. Pure genius.

WayneeFrancis
WayneeFrancis

 I'm with the journalist here.  To me it isn't glorifying sex offenders but showing people that anyone can be a sex offender.  Most kids are abused by people they know.  The only thing I can think that should have been done here is show 10 men also and show the numbers.  Anything like this that gets people to be more aware of the situation is a good thing.  The more the public is aware the safer we can make our children's environment.

Nawho
Nawho

they took advice from sex offenders?

really? is this what the news has turned into? taking advice from criminals?

neverhome
neverhome

That so many people were offended (or claim to be) just shows how easily offended some of you thin-skinned sissies really are. The article shows that not all sex offenders are overweight, overaged degenerates (like most of you). That's good info to have. Grow up!

Thanks
Thanks

Apology accepted. I am glad you wrote the article. We're way to soft on child sex abusers. We need even this negative attention to shake the heads of our mostly complacent neighbors. 

Oijenoia
Oijenoia

I don't think that 'we're way too soft on sex offenders'; I mean, that their pics and records can be displayed as freely as this counters that assertion.

But I do agree that awareness of the risk isn't what it should be, and that this piece adds positively in that direction.

Elively
Elively

I have an incredibly hard time believing this to be the true motivation by any means, since you specifically chose female sex offenders and combined it with Hot. Men are more like to be sex offenders, yet there is no TOP 10 HOTTEST MALE SEX OFFENDERS. You specifically gendered this crime, not for the purpose of education, but for exploitation - this is no different than any other 10 Hottest List, except the taste level is beyond poor. Think of the victims next time you glorify their attackers. Take heart, kids, at least your attacker was attractive???

If you were genuinely sorry and realized the damaging effect this article could have on your readers, you should have taken the article down instead of linked to it in this post.

Mmillerca
Mmillerca

 wow. what a complete lack of taste, incredibly clueless and heartless. amazing that any publication would 1. run this thing2. employ you (or your editor) ever again.

Jade
Jade

Honestly people, cut the writer a break. She apologized and it takes a lot of gut for someone to apologize, so you guys should loosen all of your panties and relax because talking smack about the writer will not solve any issue. 

Trixph
Trixph

Guess this shows that child pornography strikes the evil chord and resounds pretty loudly, which is certainly positive. I wish these people would be just as outraged about less obvious evils. Like the shrinking middle class, growing gov't interference in our personal lives, the replay of trickle-down economics, deficit emergency phoney baloney, the Repubs playing politics with the debt ceiling. Etc. All these impact kids more adversely, but less obviously, so most people don't have anything to say. It's sad that the 'duh' issues get so many, so excited, for so little.

Allen251
Allen251

this is barrack hussein's fault he is driving this country over a cliff and now the police are going mad 

Guerillamonkey
Guerillamonkey

I believe everyone got bothered by the word "hot", as if it meant "like, check out how HOT these gurls are, maaaaan!".

The headline was cleraly written that way to attract attention, but perhaps it would be better to word it differently. "10 sex offenders who don't look like you'd expect a 'sex offender' to look", maybe.

Guerillamonkey
Guerillamonkey

And now I realize that's exactly what's written on the apology. Serves me right for reading just the mentioned article and not paying attention to the apology letter.

Derp.

My2Cents
My2Cents

To reporter Richard Connelly, it was a stupid thing to do. Good for you for apologizing.

Awfwewea
Awfwewea

 i think this was awesome, sensitive, and funny. And one of them was actually hot. Americans are stupid.

Mizgnomer
Mizgnomer

 For what it is worth, I see your dilemma. Journalism has taken a bad turn and it won’t be able to find it’s way back. It seems like the today’s journalists true skill is how to ride the razor edge of integrity and shock, it’s love and war, life and death. You have a difficult and competitive job. While integral and objective journalism is what people need, information for information’s sake has all but gotten lost in the deluge of the information age. The common American is tantalized with flashy bits of sex, glitz, horror, and obscurity. Since you probably have too much integrity to go work for TMZ or Maxim, where you would have made money and not had to apologize for your article, the truth is you strayed into the dark side. FYI, Sex Offenders are shocking enough, to add (sexual flavor) shock value to the kind of horror that keeps parents awake at night…well let’s just say that good intentions are not going to get you out of the frying pan. Next time try a different flavor of shock, like a different kind of horror, and then lightly season it with just a dash of sex, subtlety is the key. Something like, “The Girls Next Door: Neighbors or Sexual Deviants.” See how I did that? Tap into the subconscious, horrify by making it close to home, sexualize by using the natural curiosity and tradition and experience. Deviants, now every red blooded American male is going to read that article and so will the women because they want to know what is up with the competition. More important, once their brains catch up with the blood pumping from their sexual curiosity they might not even realize the subtle difference between deviance and offensive.  Also, your apology has a nuance of indignation, get over yourself, it’s not about you, it’s about the information, and keep up the good work, you have a tireless and thankless job…and thank you. mizgnomer@aol.com

CharlieSeattle
CharlieSeattle

 Richard Connelly, make your peace with God and your family. You have crossed a line that can not be ignored. 

Mike Magan
Mike Magan

 Drunk Drivers never intend to kill people but they do and they have to live with the consequences. As a journalist you know as well as I do you are covering your ass right now and are lucky you still have a job. Reporters and staffs have been fired for less damaging errors in judgment.

Just because the constitution protects your writing doesn't mean you SHOULD write it. No class, this is not journalism and this makes our blog competition look sophisticated.

What's next the 10 hottest male rapists list? or 10 cutest sheep in the bestiality division?

The Douche
The Douche

Funny you mention it since HP has also made light of drunk driving too with their article that presents going through the drive through blind drunk as a bragworthy rite of passage.  That one as well as 100% tongue in cheek with nothing anywhere in the article to say "hey this is satire, don't actually drive drunk."  I was told by some hipster that it was obviously tongue in cheek.  When just about everybody knows someone who died because of drunk drivers it's kind of hard to imagine why they thought that would be funny. 

Anne
Anne

 I am glad to see an apology.  However I would also like to point out that people who are unemployed are not necessarily losers as you appear to suggest.  In the down turn in the US economy many people are unemployed, are they all losers? You really really really need to learn to proof read more carefully and become more aware of people's sensitivities. 

Retnan
Retnan

 No apology needed. Only retards didn't get your point in calling it that.

UK reader
UK reader

I don't believe that your intention was to shock. Not for a second. I think you are desperately back-peddling in a vain attempt to save your career and reputation. Have you been fired yet? I hope so. 

Guerillamonkey
Guerillamonkey

If not to shock, what would be the purpose?

And judging from the reactions, it succeeded.

gwallan
gwallan

Earlier I asked if any of the victims concerned had been consulted. For my trouble I was branded a troll, my writing style(?) was branded "deplorable" and I was diagnosed as in need of therapy. Still no closer to an answer however.

The crime committed against those kids involved an adult using them for the adult's sexual gratification. If you insist on dredging up and framing those victims' experiences in ways designed to sexually titillate you could at least have the decency to ask them, the victims, for their opinion on the matter.

Now there's a novel idea - talking to the victims. Listening to them too, it seems. 

The "hot female offender" list is not novel. It's been done before, will be done again. Why not? It doesn't take much effort. It's guaranteed to titillate and, thus, attract attention.

If Mr Connelly really wants to help maybe he could consider something different like giving some of those victims a chance to tell their stories. He might even dare to ask some of them how they feel they've been treated by the media. 

If he's genuine in his urge to help Mr Connelly has the ability to reach out to victims via the likes of child porn prosecutors and, I'm sure, other community contacts. Let's hear their stories for a change instead of the prejudices foisted upon them by others.

Clarence Woodworth
Clarence Woodworth

 gwallen:

Why don't you read the cases? As I pointed out in my other comment to you the two year old was molested ( I'm assuming, since we don't have , y ou know, the actual court records available) when the young lady involved was 13.

I've seen you or someone with your exact name at various mensrights and sexual survivor websites. I feel sorry for you, but "othering" all sexual offenders to the extent of making things up, is not something I can countenance.

gwallan
gwallan

What I am questioning are the actions of Mr Connelly and Houston Press. Details of any of those individual cases are irrelevant. They could have chosen any ten. 

It was a lazy, cheap and nasty production involving about ten minutes work. The original article gave no indication that it was designed for anything other than tittillation. Mr Connelly's weasel words, self justification and insincere apology came only after he was called to order.

"I've seen you or someone with your exact name at various mensrights and sexual survivor websites."

In the real world I have more than ten years engagement in advocacy for victims and am a board member with a rape crisis centre serving an area larger than most US states. I have a lifetime's understanding of the community attitudes toward male victims and victims of female abusers through direct experience and that of numerous others. You should consider that I may actually know what I'm talking about. 

"but "othering" all sexual offenders to the extent of making things up"?

Now I'm a liar? Making things up? I've been called a liar before. It's a common experience for those sexually abused by women. Show me where I've made things up or withdraw the accusation.

ClarenceDW
ClarenceDW

gwallen:If I hadn't stumbled across this at Toy Soldiers blog, I never would have seen your replay at all, and I don't know if you will be here to get this. But here's where you have lied:From your other post:I refer to

Female, 14Male, 4Female, 13Male, 13Male, 14Male, 2Male, 16Female, 12Male, 16and one other henceforth known as "n/a".

Were any of the above consulted when you conceived your "idea"? They are, after all, members of your community, a community I'm sure you feel you serve well. It is they whose experiences are gruel for the fodder you serve up. Were their sensibilities taken into account when you decided to out their rapists as sex bombs? "

You might want to ask yourself just how many of these female sex offenders were actually convicted of RAPE of a minor. Because that's the stupid, prejudicial word you threw out there, without, apparently, even bothering to look at  the paltry information that the Texas Sex Offenders registry does put out on the statutes for which they were convicted.

And that' s the point. You could have made your point about this unfortunately chosen article title in a more fair and responsible manner. Someone with your experience is, indeed, to be held to a higher standard. Calling someone a "baby rapist" is one of the surest ways to get them lynched, EVEN if female. The females on this list who were not convicted under that category deserve your apologies.

Dinglenet
Dinglenet

Talking to the victims is not novel. It has been done before. It will be done again. If there are victims who want 'a chance to tell their stories' as opposed to 'the prejudices foisted upon them by others' (huh?), I'm sure he would accomodate them. You're not suggesting that he track down the victims in an unsolicited manner and show up at their offices and homes to ask questions, are you?

gwallan
gwallan

Where the victims are male or abused by women it most certainly would be novel. When Oprah Winfrey ran her recent special on male victims it was promoted as a first.

Mr Connelly could easily contact a local rape crisis centre. I have no doubt they could find victims willing to talk to the media. 

Smswmw
Smswmw

This storie should have been written decades ago, maybe then some of us wouldn't have been abused. - No apology nessicary in my mind!Thanks for writing this now.... 

Aburgess
Aburgess

For a clearer perspective on what this author was aiming at, it helps to go back and read his interview with two prosecutors who work in this field everyday (the link is in the explanation above). It's evident that the author is clearly sickened and frustrated by the evil these prosecutors face. Far from making light of the issue, he is clearly sympathetic and repulsed by child exploitation.

One Mad Mother
One Mad Mother

OK I've sat here all day thinking of the hundreds of things to say and I'm still dumbfounded. My daughter was one of The Hottest Sex Offenders. She did her time has gotten out of prison and started a family. I have 2 beautiful grandchildren which she can't go to there schools to see them for any reason. Now because of this little article the kids will suffer, so thanks you piece of crap Richard!

So now for the reason my daughter lost 7 years of her life. She was dating a boy that was living in a hotel with his mother. He came to our house and  when asked told us he was turning 17 the next weekend so we thought nothing about them dating since she was only 19. Well when the boys mother called me and told me my daughter had raped her 14 year old son I was shocked but then she started demanding I give her money and my mother's perscription pain pills. I told her that they were dating and there was no rape she told me she would call the police. I said do what you have to. I had no idea it would cost my daughter 7 years of her life and 25,000 dollars.

So I do know there are people out there who did not do what they were charged with. You take a 19 yr old throw her in jail then send a court appointed attorney in who tells her if you plead guilty I can get you out of jail right now but what he didn't tell her was you have to spend 7 yrs in prison and when you come out you will have to register for the rest of your life and articles like this will pop up because of some stupid person. Oh and don't get anybody mad because they will arrest you on anybody's word for anything.

There are so maany more things I can say, like one of the boys in her court ordered classes, charged with sexual assult well he was dating this 15 girl, had one kid with her and was engaged but because the mother didn't like him she had him charged and put in prison. They are married now with 3 kids, Why aren't there people who will check on these cases? Not everyone who is charged did the deed!

It's all about the money for the court system, for the lawyers, judges. I saw a side of our system most people don't ever see or hear about. I know this is still going on and always will. it's legal robbery. Oh and a cop charged with the same charge as my daughter, except he was 30 something and she was 13. Yep he got off the very same day my kids get 7 yrs he gets off for a much worse charge in my eyes. 30's and 13 opposed to a 6 foot 14 yr old and a 19 yr old girl. Where's the justice? There is none unless you have money! There really are innocent people out there and fools like Richard Connelly can do the things he does in the name of justice or news kidding or not this wasn't a joking matter. He's upset lifes and now were going to talk to a lawyer about this. The kids will suffer more than he knows or cares about. So I guess he's a offender in his own rights!!!

One Mad Mother
One Mad Mother

Ok dumbass guess you missed the part about they were dating. He was 6 foot and looked like a football player. He lied get it lied about his age, as for saying a 19 year old is a slut then what does that make the boy? Victim no, believe me he was no virgin! Which he seemed to be proud of. He sat in my house stating he would be 17 in a week which is legal age in Texas. What I'm also trying to say is I have custody of the kids and they will suffer because of this man so isn't he a Attacker to? I'm not apoliging for my daughter asshole I'm saying she did her time. 7 years for dating a boy who's mother was the crack whore who tried to blackmail me for money and her grandmother's pills. Sounded to me like it wasn't the first time she had done it either! Why did she intimmadate her son to lie and say she raped him knowing they were dating? Bottom line asshole is her children 2 and 5 will suffer! Oh and I see you didn't mention the 30 year old cop who got off for having sex with a 13 year old. No excuses here just facts. Guess it's alright for two babies to suffer because of an article the author appologized for writing in the first place?

Anon
Anon

 Your daughter had sex with a 14 year old. That's illegal. Cut and dry. If she didn't know him well enough to know his real age, then she's a slut for sleeping with someone she didn't know. Either way, she's trash, and judging by the way you express yourself, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. If you have sex with someone who is underage, you've broken the law. Simple as that. Stop apologizing for your skanky kid and take a look at how you raised someone who felt the need to have sex with a minor.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...