Fmr. Congressman pleads guilty; now sex offender

In the news, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner faces a prison term after pleading guilty in federal court to sending obscene text messages to a minor. 

Regardless of the sentence he receives in September, Weiner will have to register as a sex offender, becoming subject to the same draconian laws he helped pass when he was a Congressman.

In a heartfelt letter in the New York Daily News, Josh Gravens welcomes Weiner to his new life as a registered citizen.

I hope you have a great deal of money saved up. You will need it. Lucrative employment and housing options are nearly nonexistent for those forced to have their worst moments forever enshrined in what is our modern-day scarlet letter list: the public sex offender registry.

Even with access to money and connections, you will still share in the stigma that more than 800,000 other people in this country face daily (others registered include those who peed in a park, older teen with younger teen scenarios, kids as young as 9 or 10, those entrapped by officers pretending to be women online using bait-and-switch, as well as the more commonly assumed reasons for registration — assault, rape and child abuse).

You will probably have restrictions on where you can live and where you can physically be or drive. So many areas are potentially off-limits: parks, schools, places near a daycare or movie theater. Remember, you helped to pass these laws. Will people be any safer now that they are to be enforced on you?

No, society won’t be any safer because Anthony Weiner — or anyone — is a registered sex offender. Hopefully he’ll be able to return to leading a productive life after completing his sentence.

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