|(c) 2007-2015 Derek W. Logue. No part of this website may be used in any way without expressed written consent of the site owner.
|THIS PAGE IS PART OF A FOUR-PART SERIES ON SEX OFFENDER HISTORY.
|A Concise History of the Anti-Registry Movement
Derek W. Logue
March 13, 2015, Updated Nov. 22, 2015
For nearly as long as the “sex offender” issue has existed, those targeted by the myriad of sex offender legislation have played a role
in fighting back against these laws. In the book “Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophile: Understanding Sex Crime Policy in America”
by Chrysanthi S. Leon (2011), sex offenders often worked to fight the “monster” paradigm prevalent in modern society:
“Experts and offenders continued to try bridging the distance between the heinous monster reified in the sexual psychopath era and
the actual offender. This bridging occurred in at least two ways. The first way was through the analogy to addiction, which was
frequently discussed as a persistent but treatable condition and which had its own set of civil commitment laws for necrotic users. Sex
offenders themselves, and those who worked in correctional and therapeutic settings with them, tried to capitalize on the public's
increasing acceptance of drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness by analogizing sexual offending to these compulsive
disorders. This was by no means an easy sell and there is not much evidence that it succeeded. Second, and even less successfully,
some… tried to overcome the perceived distance between sex offenders and everyone else by comparing their conduct to other kinds
of criminal ‘acting out’. The former was more common than the latter, but both indicate a desire to normalize sexual offending.”
(Leon, p. 59)
Ever since Megan’s Law was signed into law in 1996, a small but growing movement to fight back against the wave of punitive
legislation against those convicted of sex crimes, as well as educating the public and addressing the ingrained myths about “sex
offenders,” has existed. Unlike past eras, the Internet has made it possible to create and advertise state-level and national-level
grassroots campaigns as well as simplify communication and organizational functions. This has helped efforts of former offenders
and their loved ones to influence the spirit of reform.
The Origins of the Anti-Registry Movement (1996-2007)
There were a couple of early efforts to organize a formal resistance to Megan’s Law, efforts that continue to exist to this day.
In 1999, Paul Shannon wrote a statement/ petition called “A Call to safeguard our children and our liberties ," which was signed
by a number of prominent political activists, civil libertarians, and workers in the mental health and legal systems, as well as teachers
and others who work with children. The petition addressed concerns that our national obsession with sex crimes detracted from
many other afflictions that caused harm to children, such as other forms of abuse, poverty, malnutrition, and inadequate medical
care. Even in 1999, sex offender laws and the media were not differentiating between an 18-year-old having relations with a 16-year-
old and a 40-year-old raping a 6-year-old. Media buzzwords like “stranger danger” and “pedophile” were distracting the public from
recognizing and addressing the root causes of sexual abuse (as most sexual abuse occurs in the home by those closest to the
victims). New laws such as public registries and a recent loosening of civil commitment standards were eroding civil liberties; these
new laws reinforced an environment of fear and loathing rather than focusing efforts on education and prevention.
As a movement began to stir in Boston, another movement began in the little town of Boring, Oregon. The “So Hopeful Legal
Defense Fund” was established in the year 1999 in response to Oregon’s registry law (SB 790, signed into law in 1999). SO
Hopeful's original mission statement read:
“Our purpose is to prevent the State of Oregon's Senate Bill 740 implementation of the proposed Internet posting of the identities
and addresses of those persons who are federally and state mandated to comply with sex offender registration; to insure the
protection of spouses, their children, parents, and others who live with the affected registrants should this site be opened; to protect
the privacy rights and employment privileges of the registrants. It is further our mission to help preserve the rights of all citizens
from being singled out either as a group, or as an individual, from persecution by our government whose responsibility it is to
uphold the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Oregon.” 
An Oregon Circuit Court decision granted the SO Hopeful plaintiffs an early victory. The court concluded:
“The intended purpose of the web site is to publish information about offenders "necessary to protect the public." The context that
the information is published clearly implies that anyone on the list is a danger to public safety. While this court has no doubt that the
pedophile and the serial rapist are dangers to public safety, and that the public should be informed who and where they are in our
communities, what about the person who made a minor mistake 20 years ago, has accepted punishment and then moved on to build a
life and make positive contributions to the community? As the law now stands, it allows for that person to be lumped in with a group
of people who truly deserve a community's concern and attention, and gives no recourse to remedy the situation. Under this law,
through the context of the publication of personal information, one may be held in a false light that could destroy a life time of good
works. SB 740 cannot be justified because the broad net it casts also catches those who are truly dangerous.
Under the federal and state constitutions the court finds that SB 740 casts too wide a net.
The court finds that the plaintiffs, as the parties requesting the injunction have shown by clear and convincing evidence SB 740
violates the principles of due process, and that some would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were not issued. Having found
the legislation to be unconstitutional in terms of due process, the court declines to address the remaining issues raised by the
The SO Hopeful Legal Defense Fund was part of the discussion of the constitutionality of online registries in Oregon for many years.
Despite the 2003 SCOTUS rulings of Smith v. Doe and Doe v. Connecticut upholding the public registry, Oregon’s registries have
remained limited at least partially to the efforts of SO Hopeful . To this day, only a small fraction of Oregon’s sex offenders,
namely those deemed high risk (about 2.5% in 2013) are listed publicly in Oregon .
In 2004, about a year after the SCOTUS decisions upheld the public registry, the SO Hopeful Legal Defense Fund rebranded itself,
becoming “SO Hopeful International” and moved its headquarters from a PO Box in Boring, OR to an office in Portland, OR. SO
Hopeful became the first official national campaign to reform sex offender legislation across the US. SO Hopeful was, along with
SOSEN, also among the first to offer an online support and education forum.
SOSEN (Sex Offender Support and Education Network) began as a Yahoo Group in 2003 , and over the years, grew as an
independent organization and a more active alternative to the more conservative SO Hopeful group.
An integral part of our ability to fight is the collection and dissemination of relevant information. Since 1996, eAdvocate has provided
this service to activists and researchers of the sex offender topic. The eAdvocate organization began operations as a collection of
Yahoo’s “GeoCities” websites, including a model plan for sex offender treatment , a news reel and legal commentary , and a
chart containing the negative consequences of sex offender legislation, specifically crimes against Registered Citizens . Beginning
2007, eAdvocate migrated operations to Google Blogspot , and remains active as of 2015.
In 2006, a new Google blog called “Sex Offender Issues”  was created; SOI’s unique gift to the Anti-Registry Movement was
the dissemination of news videos via YouTube . The SOI blog is still active as of 2015.
2007: The Year of the Anti-Registry Protest
In 2007, the existing Anti-Registry Movement had organized sufficiently to become a recognizable force in affecting change to the
sex offender legal narrative. One key event that solidified our position as an influence in the sex offender debate was the participation
of Anti-Registry Movement members in the Human Rights Watch report “No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United
States” , released in September 2007. In addition to participation in the study by members of SOSEN and other groups, the HRW
also quoted sources like eAdvocate in the report.
New groups like “Roar 4 Freedom”  would join the fight, while established groups like the “Reform Sex Offender Laws”
campaign shifted strategies to become a greater influence in the Anti-Registry Movement. In July 2007, Paul Shannon wrote an
article for CounterPunch Magazine  calling for people to come together against the growing number of sex offender laws. This
article began a revival of the original campaign in 1998 and the current Reform Offender Laws group was born .
SOSEN was officially incorporated in the spring of 2007, and created an independent website  with an informational and support
forum. A new group was founded in early 2007 by Oregon Registrant Tom Madison focusing on the creation of video media to raise
awareness of the Anti-Registry Movement, appropriately named “SO Clear Media Productions” . These two groups, together
with another activist site known as “Operation Awareness,” a site unafraid to write the truth about victim industry advocates like
Walsh and Lunsford, converged in Miami on June 16th, 2007, to hold the first public protest of the ill-treatment of Registered
In 2007, reports first appeared about a group of Registered Citizens bring forced to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge in
Miami as the result of a recently passed local ordinance extending residency restrictions to 2500 feet. SO Clear Media chose to host a
public demonstration in Miami, dubbed “Operation Miami Beach,” to bring local news media attention to the plight of the Causeway
Camp registrants, and to promote the facts about those forced to register as “sex offenders.”
On the morning of June 16th, 2007, the five brave activists, representing Oregon, Texas, Arizona and Florida, met to begin
operations on a project a dozen weeks in the making. The activists paid the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce for space to hold a
press conference, and a number of media representatives were expected to attend. However, the local police were tipped off about
the intended protest, and the activists were met with a heavy and hostile police presence. The activists were closely watched and a
plain-clothes officer told one of the rally attendees if he so much as jaywalked or spat, he would be arrested. The activists were
denied entry both at the Chamber of Commerce (the place for which they paid in advance for the press conference) and at the
Jewish Holocaust Memorial Park, just across the street from the Chamber of Commerce .
Still, the rally attendees met up at the Julia Tuttle Causeway camp and held their rally, then worked tirelessly to find housing for the
residents  (at the time, there were only a half a dozen registrants under the bridge). SO Clear Media also provided one of the first
opportunities for a victim of Miami’s segregation policies (the mother of one of the JTC camp registrants) to speak out against the
poor conditions under the bridge .
The Miami protest was met with fierce opposition, but the Anti-Registry Movement was not deterred. A greater threat was looming
on the horizon—the Adam Walsh Act. The state of Ohio was the first to adopt this terrible new federal law (known at the time as SB
10). By 2007 new groups were joining the Anti-Registry Movement, and together they felt a strong desire to fight back. These
groups formed a coalition to host a protest-rally against the Walsh Act. On December 1, 2007, the rally has held and attended by
dozens of reformists. Unlike the Miami rally, protesters had the full cooperation of law enforcement and were not turned away from
their predetermined protest location. Despite the opposition from groups like BACA and representatives from a few online “vigilante
groups” , the “Silent No More” rally was in many ways a success , and the rally became a major catalyst in the formation of
our current Anti-Registry Movement.
The Growing Anti-Registry Movement (2008-Present)
As with any civil rights movement, the growing Anti-Registry Movement has endured a few growing pains. After all, those forced to
register as “sex offenders” form a very diverse group. Thus, it is not surprising there was a major rift in 2007, as it is today, over the
tactics and message of the Anti-Registry Movement. Some wish for the registry to be abolished, while others preach limits to the
registry (such as a “LEO-only registry”), and others believe a public registry should remain but only for those deemed high-risk.
One such conflict led to the shifting of the dominant representative organizations within the Anti-Registry Movement. Until 2007, SO
Hopeful International remained the dominant registrant support group, but SOSEN and the newly revised “Reform Sex Offender
Laws” campaign grew dramatically during 2007. Sadly, SO Hopeful had grown very conservative over the years, and believed that
public demonstrations were not appropriate venues for promoting the movement. Instead of mere disagreement, the SO Hopeful
BOD openly criticized the rallies and even expelled long time activists who they felt were too “radical.” The rejection of the Silent No
More rally and its attendees angered the activists that supported the movement, and the majority of activists abandoned SO Hopeful in
favor of the hungrier and more active groups like SOSEN and the newly repackaged Reform Sex Offender Laws campaign.
The “Silent No More” rally inspired a number of activists to push forward with new projects and ideas. Once Fallen was created on
December 5, 2007 primary to generate interest for a self-published book, but has grown over the years as an authoritative reference
site for a number of sex offender registry issues and resources. In addition, ideas about holding future rallies and symposiums led to
the creation of what would become the annual Reform Sex Offender Laws Conference. The first conference was held in Boston in
2009. While SO Hopeful had created “chapters” in states during its existence, the idea to create completely autonomous “state-
specific” websites. Oklahoma  and Texas  became two of the first states to create an independent state-specific group.
While there have been a number of individuals who have been important members of the Anti-Registry Movement, no story of our
history would be complete without Mary Duval . Mary was the mother of a teen who landed on the registry and was incorrectly
reclassified as a “sexual predator” in Oklahoma. The plight of her son brought Mary Duval to the Anti-Registry Movement and took
the cause to great heights. Mary joined SO Clear Media in 2008, and eventually became the CEO of SOSEN. In addition to hosting a
number of projects, Mary Duval co-hosted, along with Kevin, one of the first successful sex offender-related podcasts online
(Americans’ Reality Check/ ARC Talk Radio ).
Mary Duval’s pet project was the Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony, which had grown in the years following the June 2007
protest. ARC Talk Radio featured live interviews with people living under the bridge, and convinced even the controversial lobbyist at
the heart of the Miami sex offender camp controversy, Ron Book, appeared on the show . Mary Duval made numerous media
appearances during her life, and was among the first to bring the national media to the Anti-Registry Movement. The movement
suffered a great loss when Mary Duval passed away in 2011, but she helped inspire a new generation of activists to step up their
Another new strategy that developed in recent years was the development of organizations within the Anti-Registry Movement that
focused on the needs of specific sub-groups. One of the first specialist organizations is Women Against Registry (WAR) .
During the third annual Reform Sex Offender Laws Conference (St. Louis, MO, August 2011), two workshops were conducted --
one to introduce the concept of a women's advocacy group and the second to test the waters to determine if the attendees felt the
movement was ready for such an organization. Wives, mothers, girlfriends, aunts, and grandmothers had experienced the collateral
consequences of having a loved one on the registry, and many had believed they had no rights as a loved one of a registrant. In
September 2011, WAR was activated to address the needs of women who stand with their loved ones on the registry, and has
representatives and members in the majority of the states.
As of 2015 there are dozens of various organizations, including national groups (like RSOL, WAR, and SOSEN), state specific
groups (like Texas Voices, ReFORM-AL, or California RSOL), specialized groups (like WAR or CautionCLICK), support networks
(SOSEN and Daily Strength, among others), informational sites and news sites (like Sex Offender Issues, eAdvocate, and Once
Fallen) and numerous blogs from individuals brave enough to share their stories through blogs and videos.
Impact of the Anti-Registry Movement
Over the years, the Anti-Registry Movement has worked tirelessly to educate the public about Registered Citizens. Of course,
numerous activists have made appearances in every media format, including major newspapers (LA Times, NY Times), national
television (CNN, HLN, NBC, ABC), and the Internet. The number of media appearances by registry reformists are too numerous to
list, and each media appearance gives the movement a chance to reach out to new people, providing visibility and credence to the
message of reform.
The influence of the Anti-Registry Movement can be felt even in the “comment sections” of online news sites. One effective
campaign for raising awareness has been posting facts about Registered Citizens on message boards. The strategy is twofold—
spreading factoids about Registered Citizens and advertising the existence of the Anti-Registry Movement. Nowadays, it is not
uncommon to see people outside the Anti-Registry Movement repeat the facts we have taught for years. In many ways, the Anti-
Registry Movement has become an example of creating a successful online movement.
In addition, the Anti-Registry Movement has influenced public policy. For example, Texas Voices has influenced legislation by
showing up at legislative meetings to testify and provide information to legislators. Texas Voices encourages Registered Citizens and
their loved ones to testify before the committee, which forces lawmakers to look those they are affecting with their legislation in the
eyes, and this strategy has proven effective. One of the earliest victories was the passage of Texas’s version of a “Romeo and Juliet”
(R&J) law, a law Texas did not have at the time. In 2009 the R&J law was passed almost unanimously in the legislature but was
vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. Undeterred, Texas Voices lobbied to bring the bill back, and it passed two years later. Texas Voices
have successfully lobbied to stop a bill that would have stamped the state IDs of Registered Citizens with a scarlet “RSO” tag .
Other states have lobbied successfully against bad legislation over the years.
Civil litigation is another way the Anti-Registry Movement has affected public policy. Ohio was the first state to adopt the
controversial Adam Walsh Act, and thus became a battlefield for the new law. One of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center’s (OJPC)
attorneys, Margie Slagle, was a speaker at the Columbus Rally and worked behind the scenes with the largest groups at the time. The
OJPC had also won a major victory in Hyle v. Porter , which struck down retroactive application of residency laws as applied to
homeowners. Slagle and the OJPC, with cooperation from other agencies, fought the Adam Walsh Act all the way to the state
Supreme Court and won. In State v. Bodyke , the state’s high Court ruled the Adam Walsh Act violated “separation of powers”
(appellate courts, not legislatures, override criminal court decisions); in State v. Williams , the Court ruled the Adam Walsh Act
could not be applied retroactively.
California RSOL deserves a separate mention because Janice Bellucci is both a civil rights attorney and the head of a major state
affiliate. This puts California RSOL in a unique position to file litigation without the need to hire an attorney outside the organization.
California RSOL’s efforts have been instrumental repealing “park bans” that were promoted mainly in Orange County in 2011 .
Dealing With Criticism -- Antis, Haters, and Vigilantes
The Anti-Registry Movement has not been without detractors and “haters,” and some efforts were organized campaigns to slow us
down or scare would-be activists from speaking out. A number of groups such as the controversial troll group Perverted Justice (Of
Dateline “To Catch a Predator” fame) had initiated attack campaigns against registered citizen groups or individual activists. Others
were targeted by scam artists or extortionists, like the Offendex/ Sex Offender Archives website. Some attacks are the result of
solitary online vigilantes. The Anti-Registry Movement has found various ways of addressing attacks—some simply ignore the
attackers, some try to reason, and some take the fight to our staunchest opponents.
While not technically a part of the Anti-Registry Movement, a website called “Corrupted Justice”  exposed the corruption of the
Perverted Justice group until “Pee-J’s” operations were largely abandoned. A more recent and active site, “Offendextortion/ Mug
Shot Scams,’  exposes those who try to scam Registered Citizens in private mugshot pay-for-removal schemes, while other
projects like Absolute Zero Unites  (an anti-online vigilante blog) and the Shiitake Awards  (a yearly award exposing those
who exploit Registered Citizens for fortune and fame) have helped expose some of the hypocrisy of detractors and return the fight to
our staunchest opponents.
One famous incident is especially worth noting because it represents a major victory for the Anti-Registry Movement and a
humiliating defeat for the “Antis.” For many years, registry reformists were routinely stalked by members of an online vigilante group
known as “Absolute Zero United” (a self-professed ‘Anti” group so rabid, they once claimed victim advocate Patty Wetterling was
the “pissed off mother of a sex offender” after she advocated reforming the registry laws) along with a certain persistent troll well
familiar to many long-time activists. These individual collaborated to attempt to disrupt the annual 2012 RSOL Conference in
Albuquerque, NM. And so, these individuals posed as “concerned citizens” and called the Albuquerque police and the media claiming
a “pro-pedophile group” was coming to town. The police, bamboozled into thinking there was a large amount of public outrage,
responded by hosting a town hall meeting in a venue that could accommodate hundreds of these concerned citizens; in reality, only
seven people attended the town hall meeting . Absolute Zero United failed to sabotage the conference. In fact, these “concerned
citizens” gave the conference lots of exposure  and made the conference arguably its most successful conference to date.
It was not Absolute Zero United’s first attempt (and first failure) to derail the Anti-Registry Movement. They organized a “counter-
rally” to the Anti-Registry Movement’s “Silent No More” rally in Columbus, Ohio in 2007. This group, flying under the banner
“WASP” (Women Against Sexual Predators, a group founded by Mark Lunsford), recruited a chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse
(BACA) and Judy Cornett, a rather famous vigilante who had made appearances on Oprah, to join a counter-protest. They tried hard
to scare rally attendees into silence; they hurled insults our way, holding signs with such slogans as, “Sex offenders have the right to
remain silent,” and “Cry me a river, sex offender”; they even took pictures of rally attendees in hopes of “exposing” them on their
blogs. After the rally, a few brave rally attendees  walked over to the protesters and addressed them face to face. Some even
agreed with at least some points of the Silent No More message. We stood up to those who hate us on the mere basis of a label and
we did not back down. We won the battle without force or violence by either side.
Years later, when AZU tried to derail the RSOL Conference in Albuquerque, no one was around to hold their signs or attend the town
hall meeting. Absolute Zero United now sits abandoned in the dark recesses of the Internet, while the Anti-Registry Movement
continues to grow. Somehow, the Anti-Registry Movement finds ways to persevere in the face of overwhelming adversity.
2015: Rise of the Anti-Registry Movement (ARM)
In 2015, a number of Registered Citizens within our cause had looked back to the early days of the cause, when our numbers were
smaller but our members were hungrier. In recent years, the movement to reform sex offender laws slowly abandoned some of our
roots, opting to stay within the relatively safe confines of private forums and gatherings. It had been years since there had been any
public demonstrations on the issue of reforming sex offender laws, so in January 2015, a number of brave individuals announced the
first major public demonstration in seven years. Rather than attach this planned protest to any one group, however, a new name was
devised to stress both unity and activism within the sex offender reform efforts -- the "Anti-Registry Movement (ARM)."
The Anti-Registry Movement is not a formal group, but a philosophy of taking an active role to combat proposed or existing sex
offender legislation. To that end, the ARM decided to set the bar high for future demonstrations by taking on the state perceived to be
the worst against Registered Citizens (Florida) during the month reserved for awareness of "child abuse" (April) and during a major
event hosted by a celebrity child victim advocate (Lauren Book of Lauren's Kids). This important event was called the Rally in Tally,
as it was to be held in Tallahassee, FL. The idea was very ambitious, and the conservatives within the movement were afraid of such
a venture; some even publicly distanced themselves from the event . Some of Lauren Book's supporters from FloridaPolitics.com
wrote editorials asking the ARM not to protest the event .
Despite the fears of conservatives within the cause, and the opposition from Lauren Book and her supporters, the ARM successfully
completed the public demonstration of the Lauren Book on April 22, 2015 as planned . In February 2015, Lauren Book stated in
an interview that she wished critics "would speak directly to me so I can show them the amazing work we are doing on behalf of
children."  However, when members of the ARM protest tried to contact her, she ran away from her critics! Lauren Book not
only hired FDLE motorcycle cops and a smokescreen to hide from the ARM protest, Book even made a false claim on her website
regarding the nature of our protest. It is obvious that the Book family was on the ropes.
The ARM has since created a website  to promote more activism within our cause. As of November 2015, ARM's Oregon wing
has created a ballot initiative in an attempt to remove the registry from the public eye . California RSOL has conducted two
public demonstrations in Carson City, CA . In April 2016, the ARM will conduct #OpGetSMART, a series of public
demonstrations in Washington DC, targeting the federal SMART Office, the NCMEC, and the US Supreme Court.
The history of our movement will continue to be written, long after many of us move on. Our movement is far from perfect, and at
times we feel like we are expected to slay giants without so much as a sling and a stone. Many of us still hold fear in our hearts,
afraid of the ridicule we face for daring to stand up for our right to exist. Even today, we still face nasty comments, misinformation,
and even the occasional threat. Some of us live in places where laws are particularly oppressive and ostracism or harassment is
ignored or seemingly condoned. Truth be told, I am afraid at times, but I shudder to think where our lives would be without the Anti-
As an archivist, I want to keep alive the memories of those who have worked both on the front lines and behind the scenes to keep
this movement plodding along. People like Mary Duval and the Reverend David Hess gave their lives to the movement until their final
breaths. Rev. Hess, laying on his deathbed, hoped for the hundreds of thousands of Registered Citizens what he had hoped for – a
“different exit” from the sex offender registry .
Our hope for that different exit will only come about when we fight back. Every protest, every court case, every editorial, every
comment on a news site, every media interview, and every email, letter, phone call or text for the sake of our cause brings us one
step closer to the dream of a life where we can be freed from the bonds of the registry forever.