Jacob's Legacy: Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws, Practice, and Procedure in Minnesota
56 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2008
Date Written: July 29, 2008
Triggered in significant part by the October, 1989, abduction of eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling in rural St. Joseph, Minnesota, Americans during the 1990s were beset by a "moral panic" over convicted sex offenders living in their midst. To be sure, this panic in itself was not unprecedented in American history. At regular intervals throughout the twentieth century, heinous sexual victimizations, of women and children in particular, preoccupied the nation, often after receiving intense media attention. The 1990s panic, however, was unique in its force and scope, taking tangible form in what has been aptly called a "'legislative' panic." As a result of converging social and political forces, including the increasingly influential victims' rights, child welfare, and women's movements, augmented by media attention of unprecedented influence, legislatures nationwide fixated on "sexual predators."
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