Child Molester Escapes

Fork Union Military Academy teacher Gregory Allen Moyer was convicted in 1997 of, in the words of the Daily Progress’ Austin Graham, “committing a string of bizarre sex crimes involving cadets.” Strangely, the wealthy parents of one of his victims took him into their home while Moyer appealed his case to the Virginia Supreme Court. In May, he skipped out on the $50,000 bail that the couple had posted for him. When time ran out for Moyer to show up, the couple sent a check for $50k to Fluvanna County. Said Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip, “He hasn’t served one day of his sentence that the court handed down and that he should be serving right now. The revocation of the bond is no consolation to me. Its nice for the commonwealth to have, but were going to keep looking for him.”

8 thoughts on “Child Molester Escapes”

  1. Wait a minute. Perhaps you misunderstood.

    I didnt realize that there were ethical problems with requiring sex offenders to register like that.

    It seems pretty sane and straightforward to me.

  2. I think it’s interesting because it negates the concept of “serving your time.” If we want to continue to say that the purpose of prison is both to punish and to rehabilitate, then why must we force these people to wear a scarlet letter? In some areas, they have to put a sign in front of their house. In some cases these people committed the crime decades previously.

    This is a classic slippery slope. Why not scarlet letters for murderers? Rapists? Attempted murderers? Wife-beaters? Muggers? After all, it would be useful to know that your next-door neighbor once attacked his neighbor and beat her up for $100. Or whatever.

    Heck, why don’t we all wear shirts all the time that have our criminal record printed on it? That way, there’d be no question.

    As long as we continue to say that our prison system rehabilitates, we can’t require life-long punishment like this. But if we drop that facade, then I have no argument.

  3. The ethical problem is not so much with requiring sex offenders to register as it is with allowing such easy public access to the database. Specifically, the whole thing can turn into a Kafkaesque nightmare for anyone who gets into the database by mistake, and by all accounts it does happen from time to time. I dug up an article about Arizona’s online sex offender registry, which describes some of the arguments on both sides, including some of the ways inaccuracies can creep into the database. One of the most insidious, in my opinion, is that if an offender moves without notifying the authorities, his record remains attatched to his last known address. Rotten luck for the next poor schmoe that moves in there. I also have a certain amount of sympathy for the guy who, 25 years ago when he was a senior in high school had consensual sex with a sophomore, and as a result is now branded a “sex offender” for the rest of his life.

    Apart from the problems associated with inaccuracies, there is also the fact that a significant minority out there sees a listing in the sex offender database as a license to harass or even assault the listee. Whatever you may think of sex offenders, facilitating that sort of vigilanteism runs completely contrary to our values of due process and equal justice under the law.

    I recognize that there is a high rate of recidivism amongst (certain types of) sex offenders, and I understand communities’ desires to protect themselves. However, if we truly feel that these people are truly unsafe to be released into the public, then perhaps we ought to do the kinder thing and keep them in jail, rather than pretending to release them while continuing to punish them for crimes they might commit someday in the future.


  4. I see what you’re saying. However… There is a BIG difference between sitting in prison and sitting at home with your name/address/photo on the web.

    You CAN find out if your neighbor is a criminal. Its a matter of public record. When you hire a new employee, he’s obligated to tell you about his criminal record. And if he doesnt you can use any number of services to do a background check.

    The difference here is that you can find their record without knowing who they are, its indexed by location, not identification. The reason for this is simple, if there is a convicted child molester across the street, you would want to know that before letting your young children roam around outside your house.

    They’re not being punished twice, its not like they’re putting up billboards all around town with their photograph and text that reads “Evil bastard” or anything like that. The only people who will see this information are people who activly seek it out.

    Would you want a convicted child molester as your 5 year old child’s daycare teacher? I certainly wouldnt. Would you let him continue to care for your child after you found out just because he “already served his time”? I wouldn’t. He can get a job doing something else.

    And as a final note, Its amazing to see such sympathy here for such horrible people. Even in the prison community, where cop killers are idolized, it’s considered standard practice to stab a prisoner who is known to have raped/killed a child.

  5. And as a final note, Its amazing to see such sympathy here for such horrible people.

    It’s not child molesters that I have sympathy for — it’s everybody else that will get caught up in this as the scarlet letter approach to crime slides down from child molesters to people convicted of minor crimes.

    rpl, elsewhere in this discussion, summed up some very real practical problems, notably including so-called “sex offenders” that only violated our state’s horrifyingly restrictive bedroom laws, people that move into the homes of sex offenders and find themselves shunned mistakenly, or sex offenders that are the target of attack as a result of their scarlet letter.

    Again, rpl sums things up much better than I can. :)

  6. A big part of this problem is that these registries make it much easier for a person to figure out who the local sex-offenders are. With these registries, you can immediately discover who the nearby offenders are. With other sorts of crimes, you would have to gather up a list of everyone in the area you want to check and then check their criminal record one by one, which would take at least months in this city.

    This is problematic because sex offenders are far more likely to be abused illegally than most other sorts of criminals are. As an example, when I visited Britain a little over a year ago, there was a huge public fiasco where several major tabloid newspapers (which are much more popular and not as fictional as ours) had publicly published addresses and photos for sex offendors in certain areas. Within a matter of days, several of those offenders had been assaulted and hospitalized, and several others had their homes burned to the ground. Obviously this was no concidence, and a large group of people were arrested on various charges relating to those crimes.

    So while it is indeed useful for legitemate purposes to know who child molesters in the area are, it is also used by some as a white pages for people who they feel deserve pain, humiliation, and other forms of abuse. So there certainly is good reason to suggest that perhaps these listing shouldn’t be as public as they are.

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