Naming sex offenders

| 02/09/2013

The call to name and shame convicted sex offenders, even when they have a family connection to their victims, has grown louder recently, but the argument that the reporting of such crimes should not lead the public to identify the victims, thus adding to their pain, certainly has merit. As a result, CNS is soliciting the opinion of victims, social workers, lawyers and other stakeholders about naming sex offenders after they have been found guilty of the crime.

The law does not prohibit naming offenders, only the publication of any information which could identify the victim. This means that when the offender is a father, step-father, grandparent, uncle (or, indeed, mother, step-mother, etc) or merely in a relationship with a family member, as is often the case in sex crimes the world over, in a small community like ours naming the offender could lead to many more people identifying the victim.

If in our reports we named the culprit but left out critical information (such as the relationship to the victim), this might offer some protection for the victim's identity. But what if other media houses reported on the relationship but not the name? The public would then be able to put the pieces of the jigsaw together and the victim’s identity would be known.

The naming of offenders for any other crime is part and parcel of the public’s right to know in a transparent and democratic society, where all court proceedings are open and the names of those who have been charged with crimes are revealed. It also protects those accused of crimes. In undemocratic societies, secret arrests and trials on baseless charges behind closed doors using an opaque justice system can be used as a political tool. An open justice system, where those arrested or charged can proclaim their innocence, is just as important as the public’s right to know when the charges become convictions.

But by and large, naming those charged and convicted has more to do with shaming the guilty than the potential framing of the innocent. When a white collar worker is convicted of embezzling half a million dollars from his employer, public scrutiny is part of the consequences of the crime.

Yet sex offenders, who are often among the most dangerous of criminals as they target  the most vulnerable sectors of the community, are given an anonymity not offered to other offenders who may be far less of a danger to society. The unintended consequence of protecting young or vulnerable victims is that those committing some of the most abhorrent crimes are saved from the shame of exposure. 

There is no stigma to being the victim of a theft, and so thieves are named. But as a result of the shame that society imposes on victims of sex crimes, the media is required to protect the identity of the offenders in order to protect the victims.

In recent months, however, there has been a growing opinion in the community that we all should know more about the people who are living among us that have sexually abused people, particularly children, so that we, as a community, are in a position to protect future victims. 

And so we ask the following questions in order to garner feedback on this very sensitive issue:

The media has traditionally interpreted the law to mean that unless the perpetrator was a stranger to the victim or there is no clear relationship, that we do not name the guilty. But has the media, as a result, become complicit in covering up these crimes?

It is absolutely right to highlight sexual abuse in our society, but would the glare of publicity in specific cases actually prevent would-be abusers from committing such crimes or prevent those convicted of re-offending?

Is the law working for the victims or the perpetrators? The members of our Legislative Assembly cannot shirk their responsibility in this matter, since it ultimately lies with them.

Is there a way to name sexoffenders without adding to the pain of the victims?

Should the anonymity of the perpetrators blanket all sex offences, or just the reporting on those involving children?

In previous articles on the subject, there has been a lot of knee jerk responses and comments ‘baying for blood’, but here we are looking for measured, thoughtful or knowledgeable opinions, particularly from victims or those working with the victims of sexual abuse, lawyers knowledgeable in the relevant laws, and those with experience in how such matters are dealt with in other jurisdictions — and their consequences.

Criminal Procedure Code (2011 Revision): Anonymity of complainants in rape, etc., cases

31. (1) After a person is accused of a rape offence, no matter likely to lead members of the public to identify a woman as the woman against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed shall be published in a written publication available to the public or be broadcast, except as authorised by a direction of the court.
(2) In this section-
“rape offence” means rape, attempted rape, conspiracy to commit rape, aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring rape or attempted rape, and incitement to rape.
(3) For the purpose of this section, a person is accused of a rape offence if-
(a) a charge is laid alleging that he has committed a rape offence;
(b) he appears before a court chargedwith a rape offence;
(c) a court before which he is appearing commits him for trial on a new charge alleging a rape offence; or
(d) a bill of indictment charging him with a rape offence is preferred before a court in which he may lawfully be indicted for the offence.
(4) Nothing in this section-
(a) prohibits the publication or broadcasting, in consequence of an accusation alleging a rape offence, of matter consisting only of a report of legal proceedings other than proceedings at, or intended to lead to, or on an appeal arising out of, a trial at which the accused is charged with that offence;
(b) affects any prohibition or restriction imposed by virtue of any other law upon a publication or broadcast,
and a direction under this section does not affect the operation of subsection (1) at any time before the direction is given.
(5) If any matter is published or broadcast in contravention of subsection (1), the following persons-
(a) in the case of a publication in a newspaper or periodical, the proprietor, editor and publisher of the newspaper or periodical;
(b) in the case of any other publication, the person who publishes it;
(c) in the case of a broadcast, any person having functions, in relation to the programme in which it is made, corresponding to those of an editor of a newspaper, commit an offence and are each liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The defination for rape needs to change in this country to include all forms of penetration be it digitally, orally etc.  As shown recently, far too many children aren't getting the justice they deserve just because they weren't fully 'raped'.  Violation is still violation and these children first and formost (as well as any men or women that have been also been sexually assaulted) need to be fully protected under the law.  

  2. Hercules says:

    Interesting article, here’s what I’m thinking. Perhaps the judge sitting on a case of rape/sexual assault and only after a successful conviction, can ask the victim or parent(s) of an underage person, if they would like the name made public and that it can be reported on by the media houses as to who the convicted perpetrator is by his or her name. Basically asking if it’s OK for this information to be released, taking into consideration the victim’s own thoughts and rights on the matter. I think, and based on my work background, that you’ll find a victim’s or parent’s answer not to everyone’s satisfaction. Some of the victims and parent(s) will be in approval, others will not be. If they have no say/input on how this information is disseminated, it could lead to potential non-reporting of these types of crimes, all for fear of possibly being brought into the spotlight/public awareness that they may not want on them. Unfortunately, we humans love juicy, terrible news articles. The worse the better it seems. For a lot of us, talking about the victim of rape/sexual assault is as engrossing as talking about the perpetrator/rapist/pedophile etc. To that end and in my opinion, the family and/or victim may well not want the name to be made public for fear of being victimised again by some form of shame or perhaps be ostracized by the public.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Name them and remove identifying information linking to the victim.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a ruse. There are upwards of 800,000 registered offenders and counting. If close to a million people were that dangerous, some registry isn't going to be useful. The fact is, there are more unregistered, unknown offenders than registered. Only 12% of these crimes are reported. Mathematically, when a crime occurs, it is NOT a registered offender. The one's that do register might have crimes that were misdemeanors, or so long ago that they shouldn't have to register anymore. Recidivism drops with time. Segregation and labeling doesn't address the problem. The idea that this behavior can be managed; because "they know where they live" is ridiculous. This is an excuse to form another department, cash for another budget, more taxes and more bureaucracy. It is possible that in reality, in a practical way, the registry unwittingly makes it more dangerous for society; the offender needs to be working and off the streets, this system makes it more difficult if not impossible for these people to find work and a place to live. If I had kids, I would much rather offenders were working during the day and off the streets at night, not sleeping on a random bench somewhere in the evening. This is clearly an irrational approach, driven by emotions, paid for with taxpayer money, not logic. The sex offender therapists are doing very well financially. You can't have one without the other.

    • Hercules says:

      I could not have said it better myself. Well done and spot on.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing to be gained by making sex offenders anonymous. If a sex offender will cross the lines of assault within their own families, there is nothing stopping them from acting out towards a non family member. The registries are under utilized and we have the victims to prove it. Sex offender registries dont "save" any one from abuse. They were never intended to. They are a tool for information on those who have been convicted of sexually based crimes, nothing more, nothing less. The "saving" needs to be done by those who access the info and act accordingly. Offenders are Opportunist and the less Opportunity the public affords those who have no qualms about molesting those within their family circles the better off the public will be.

  5. Anonymous says:


    Most people are evil and don't care who they harm, if it fits their agenda.
    They are no better than the perpetrator who feels a need and victimizes someone weaker than themselves. To allow a perpetrator's children to be victimized for the faults of the parent is as insane as molesting them. To sit by and allow a person who has committed a sex crime to suffer the public humiliation of being branded as a dangerous psychotic may satisfy their lust for vengeance but only hurts a pathetic group of people, most of whom need help to turn their life around.
    Easy internet access to a families frailties is cold and callous and unworthy of a dignified society. To allow unscrupulous websites to make money by posting names, addresses, and photos of someone with a criminal record is disgusting.
    Are we not better than that? Don't rely on evil people with their devious agendas to protect your children. Learn the right way. It takes work but aren't your children worth it?


    • Hercules says:

      Again, another well thought out, mature, non-violence emotive comment. Well done poster, well done.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The answer seems rather obvious. Name the offender and the charges, but omit the details. Surely you can say the offender has been convicted of rape or statutory rape without further detail. Such naming should only take place once convicted, not accused. 

  7. UH UH UH says:

    There are two things that will have to be changed, in law re the commission of rape, and/or any other offense of a sexual nature, and my feeling is, that to do this we will have to adapt a completely new attitude and reverse "what I call" the "Caribbean Males" {including the Judiciary} acceptance  of what I call the slave and master syndrome, and here is what that means!  Simply put, if you'll bear with me it is this:

    Back in the day when slaves were legal, the slave masters could do about anything they  cared to  with those young slave girls  including rape, but there was nothing the father or brother or any male relative of the victim could do other than silently curse the perpetrator or hope that one day he would find him alone in the woods and there and then the brother or father would dispense justice. And because these men had seen so young girls raped, and was unable to do anything about it, they eventually became somewhat complacent and began to accept it as the norm. And that syndrome of acceptance has trickled down over the years and now we see it today as not being so bad!

    We must look at rape and molestation of any female as  the disgusting crime that it is, and the hurt thatit causes both physically and mentally!  We must create new laws that will punish the perpetrator and cause the victim to feel some sense of justice. Because for far too long here in the Cayman Islands, we have in so many ways turned a blind eye to this awful crime, leaving the victim with a feeling that "NO ONE REALLY CARES".


  8. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me that at least Immigration are being told about these bastards, including those that have been granted status, and are actually taking steps to deport them as required by law!

  9. Anonymous says:

    By not naming the perpetrator you are protecting them and leaving a whole country vulnerable to possible other offenses by this person.  If we all know who they are by having their pictures an names published we can better protect oursleves and our childre,  That should be the end result in any civilised society.

  10. Slowpoke says:

    Sure CNS, make us do all the hard thinking!

    Anyway, I would urge you to err on the side of caution.  The opportunity to identify an offender never goes away. 

    However, if a victim gets identified, even inadvertently, they are left with that and it cannot ever be taken back.  In my opinion, the risks and additional victimization effects of that, far outweigh the benefits of naming the perpetrator. 

    This is particularly true in a small community.  As a parent, I suggest that awareness of who the child is with, whether an adult has opportunity to be alone with them, your relationship with the kid, etc. are much more effective deterrents.

    • Hercules says:

      And who said you were a slow poke? Your input says otherwise! Very good feedback.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am related to one of the victims – a child whose attacker was recently in the news. Subsequently to this, the attacker was named on the SOR facebook page and, due to the news reports which were linked on the page, it became easy not only to identify the victim but also to know fairly graphic details of what had been done to them that had previously not been made public. This victim and the family of the victim would have preferred it if the identity of the attacker had not been revealed as the news reports giving details of the abuse gave people far too much information about what was done to the victim in this case. They were not asked if this was acceptable to the victim and now the choice has been taken away from the victim. Name and shame the offenders – but leave all details of their crimes and any relationships they may have to the victim out of news reports. Never lose sight of the fact that the victim is THE most important person in this situation.

    I would also add that these concerns were made perfectly clear to the SOR facebook page and were met with resistance, rudeness and a distinct lack of any sort of empathy for the victim. The reply we received to our query about whether the victim's family had given permission for the naming of this offender was: 'We don't have to confirm anything. We are located in the USA so good luck with your backward Cayman thinking…you need to take a pill of some sort.' For people who are supporting this page, maybe this will give you an idea into the mindset of those responsible for it; obviously the victim and their feelings are afforded little importance. A Sex Offenders Registry should go forward for the Cayman Islands, but the feelings of the victims should be taken into account and, in a small community such as this, are a legitimate concern.

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm confused. How would details that were not public be disclosed? Where from?

      • Anonymous says:

        I said details that hadn't previously been made public – not that couldn't be made public. Fairly graphic details about the acts that this victim had to carry out. These were not previously reported and I cannot imagine a situation where it is necessary to detail what has been done to any victim. I am not suggesting these details were confidential – presumably they were mentioned in court records when the case was brought up on appeal, however I do not see the need for them to be reported for the wider public to know about. Maybe a register could class offenders into groups based on the type of offence commited and the age / gender of the victim, but give no further details about the specific offences or relationship to victims.

    • M for Anonymous says:

      I agree with you about the publication of the explict details of the crime. It was very uncomfortable knowing "everything" that occurred (TMI) and then disclosing the relationship between the offender and victim didn't help matters when the SOR came out.

      If the media (online and printed in this day and age) were to be barred from disclosing the explict details of the crime, and the relationship between the parties involved, (i.e. Mother, Daughter, Father, Son, Girlfriend, Boyfriend, etc) then the transion to naming the offender, and focusing on that alone, in my mind would serve us all the juctice we need. After all, this is all we are truly asking for.

      Name the offender, save the victim.

      An article example I could find:

      A 37-year-old Cayman Brac man is sentenced to just over nine years in prison for raping his 12 -year-old stepdaughter. The man, who we are not identifying for legal reasons, was convicted on one count of rape and one count of indecent assault on the child. The offences happened in 2008 and 2009.

      The judge highlighted the fact the step-father had taken advantage of the girl while her mother was off island. He added the assaults happened while the man was drunk and this, he said had been his ‘downfall.’

      The judge also took into account the man had allegedly threatened her that if she told anyone she knew what he was capable of and no one would believe her.

      The man was given 8 years for the rape and 15 months for the indecent assault. Both sentences will be served consecutively.


      Picture of offender and name inserted here.

      37-year-old (Name of Offender), a Cayman Brac man is sentenced to just over nine years in prison for raping a female minor. He was convicted on one count of rape and one count of indecent assault on the child. The offences happened in 2008 and 2009.

      The judge highlighted the fact (Name of Offender) had taken advantage of the girl while her mother was off island. He added the assaults happened while the man was drunk and this, he said had been his ‘downfall.’

      The judge also took into account that  (Name of Offender) had allegedly threatened her that if she told anyone she knew what he was capable of and no one would believe her.

      (Name of Offender) was given 8 years for the rape and 15 months for the indecent assault. Both sentences will be served consecutively

      • Hercules says:

        In this small community, it would not matter. We humans will always want to know more it would seem and is for most in my opinion. Please see my comments at the top, posted on Tuesday night for why I say this to you. However, your hypothetical rewrite is headed in the right direction and should be considered if the laws are to be changed. But, with the information super highway known as the Internet, more likely than not, the details and victims names will be known. The details will be posted on social sites, blogs, BBM, WhatsApp etc and other forms of instant, gratifying commutation platforms, because it seems to me that some people think everyone is interested in knowing everything about everyone, including themselves, every minute of the day. All posted in so few words too. Example, ‘SMH’ is the most overused acronym over at the Facebook SOR page. Shows a lack of Real feedback and thought provoking input, yours on the other hand is miles above anything I’ve read there lately. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hercules says:

      I'm very sorry to read about what has occurred. But you are correct, with the way some people assume responsibility in bringing awareness to the public, the courts and the elected officials. Power, even perceived power, by some can lead to other forms of abuse and mistrust, spoiling what they are trying to accomplish.

      I posted about the dangers and mob mentality of websites such as the Facebook SOR page in several articles about this 'hot' topic here on CNS.

      Interestingly enough, a website (linked below) had tried to reason and bring insight to the 'VPN Warriors' ( as I now name these admin(s) ) or 'not located in the Cayman Islands Admin(s)' of the FB SOR page, to little success. Here's some snippets on their report:

      "We did have several comments on their Facebook page, but like usual, they don't like opposition and our comments were deleted and we were blocked." And "Online registries like this are nothing more than online hit-lists for vigilantes to use"…

      Full read here:

      Thank you for not being part of the mob mentality on this issue poster, even though you have a right to be outraged, more so than most who have commented on these articles.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Houston, we have a problem.

    Police in Houston have charged a 10-year-old girl with aggravated sexual assault after she was allegedly spotted playing a game of "doctor" with a 4-year-old boy near her house.

    The report from Houston's Fox News affiliate says that they're referring to the 10-year-old girl as "Ashley" in order to protect her identity due to the seriousness of the charges.

    Back in April, Ashley — who was 9 at the time — was playing doctor in the courtyard of her apartment with a group of other children. Ashley was reportedly inappropriately touching the child.

    Two months later Ashley was arrested and charged. She spent four days in the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center.

    Quanell X, who has been working with the family, says "I've never dealt with a child this young being accused of a crime. In fact this was nothing more than inappropriate horseplay that has now lead to a child that is ten years old being charged with aggravated rape."

    So should she be put on a registry for sex offenders? 

    • Hercules says:

      Wow! All I can think to say about that story is what I hear and read from some people. That is, ‘she’s only a child, a baby, poor little angel’ (if this had happened to her by an older person), this would be correct to say. Butwhen it’s something like the above story, ‘she’s a sexual predator that needs to be convicted and/or be given psychology therapy and put on a sexual offenders registry, she’s a danger to society’, etc, etc, etc. In other words, she’s a child victim if it happened to her but a sexual offender for life if she did the crime. Blurred lines for some indeed. No doubt her parents/guardians will be investigated and the “experts” brought in to determine why this 10 year old girl did what she did. It may be that there’s nothing else other than a child’s curiosity and innocent play. Or perhaps there’s more to the situation at home or elsewhere that we don’t know at this point. That won’t stop the pursuit by some people/law enforcement of potentially ruining this young girl’s future and her trust in authority. The silence of non-replies/feedback about This story and post is deafening. Thank you poster for bringing this to our attention.

  13. Anonymous says:

    One word:  LAWSUITS

  14. Anonymous says:

    We need to change society's mindset – there should be NO SHAME or stigma attached to the victims, particularly in all of these instances of child abuse, they have done absolutely nothing wrong.  

    • Hercules says:

      Children and young teens, more so than adults have a much, much harder time overcoming shame. The pressure alone of just trying to fit in with their peers has been enough for some to commit suicide and/or harm themselves. For a lot of young people, you have low self-esteem issues, what to wear, how to look and act issues, what to do and say, how to be “cool” issues and so forth. There’s a lot more going on. You’ve got to try to think back when you were young, it’s not the same for every adult. Add in a scenario such as being a victim of sexual assault/abuse, that could be too much for one to handle, especially the young, non adult person. And then for this crime committed upon said person to be public knowledge?! Well you get the picture. There should be no shame, you’re right. But unfortunately that is only wishful thinking and false hope. It’s not a society issue to overcome, but an individual’s. Trying to overcome one stigma while facing another is sometimes too much. It’s good we’re talking openly about this, education is key.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that Section 31(2) only applies where the person has been convicted of a 'rape' offense. 

    'Rape offenses' are defined as: rape, attemped rape, conspiracy to commit rape, aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring rape or attempeted rape and incitement to rape. 

    Does this mean that the law against naming the perpetrator doesn't apply in other 'sexual' offenses?  For example where the crime is sexual assault, sexual indecency etc? 




  16. Anonymous says:

    I am not interested in shaming these convicted child abusers. I want to know who they are, so I can keep my children away from them. This is a small community. And in recent weeks we have seen several molesters convicted in the courts. Imagine how many there have been over the past 5 years whose identieis have been protected.The community also needs to see that these offenders are not just the poor, uneducated, unemployed men and women from a certain district or two. These molesters represent a cross section of society. All income levels. All professions. All skin colors.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Someone found guilty of having sex with a minor should have their picture published and they should appear on a registry, and remain there forever.

    Some may be able to put two and two together and figure out that the person had sex with his/her own child, a neice or nephew, or child of a friend. However, the additional pain and suffering that might be caused to the victim by a few knowing about it is minute compared to the pain that would be caused to a new victim simply because the perpetrator is free to act in a capacity of trust without anyone knowing about their past.

    • Hercules says:

      What about a minor having sex with a minor? Remember one is considered a minor until the age of 16 or 17 in the Cayman Islands. Funny thing is, one is graduated from public high school at age 16, can legally drive a car at 17, can vote at 18 (another funny thing there, got to get them while they’re young), can go to war by the time one is 18 or 19 (in some countries), but not drink alcohol until 21, in the U.S. for example. Some of these numbers make no sense to me. At what age is one really considered an adult anyway? I would say age 20. What if a minor was charged when they were 12 with a sex crime. How long should they remain on a sexual offenders registry, if they could be considered for one at that age? How long should their past be public knowledge?? Would you feel the same if the situation involved you or any children you have of any age??? Forever is a really long time, think about it before answering.

      • Anonymous says:

        Minors need to be educated too as the law holds them accountable!