A Concise History of the Anti-Registry Movement
Derek W. Logue
13 March 2015, Updated 27 March 2024

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 term “Anti-Registry Activism”

The story of how the term “Anti-Registry Movement” (ARM) came about is a personal story. By 2013, I had been working closely with a fellow activist from Oregon named Tom Madison for about five years. After years of discussions and engaging in various projects, we had felt like the concerted efforts to reform the sex offense registry had grown a bit stale. We started brainstorming ideas on how to breathe new life into a movement we felt feared spreading our message of reform into the public realm. 

The idea began as a Men’s fellowship we called the “Black Leopard Brotherhood” (BLB). The core concept is to instill the desire to be emboldened to speak out about the plight of those on the registry within the pool of men currently involved in the movement. This was to include a “retreat” where men would stay not in a “cushy hotel” as was the norm for formal conferences; instead we’d camp out in a remote area and engage in team exercises to instill camaraderie.

The Black Leopard was chosen as a symbol for the Brotherhood idea as a play on the phrase, “a leopard cannot change its spots.” Black Leopards are rare a majestic beings, which made it truly a symbol of both beauty and power. 

However, BLB sounded too much like the new and rapidly growing Black Lives Matter movement. Having a group with a similar set of initials and the word “Black” in the title may have led to confusion and anger for those who would support police reform but not efforts to reform public registries. So Tom Madison came up with a new moniker in 2014 — ANTI-REGISTRY MOVEMENT (ARM) for short.

Tom had also shared a graphic he found online where Lady Liberty, a symbol often utilized by numerous reform groups over the years, was in a defensive stance while holding a large shield with the American flag emblazoned on it. I slightly altered the design by having Lady Liberty face forward rather than the side view, and made the flame brighter to give the torch a flaming sword effect.

No longer a “brotherhood” or Men’s Fellowship”, the term “Anti-Registry Movement” was created to denote that we need to be seen as a unified front even when we disagree on tactics. ARM is a distict movement dedicated to abolishing oppressive legal sanctions we face after serving out our court-ordered punishments. 

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 [1],” 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.” [2]

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 plaintiffs.” [3]

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 [4]. 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 [5].

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 [6], 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 [7], a news reel and legal commentary [8], and a chart containing the negative consequences of sex offender legislation, specifically crimes against Registered Citizens [9]. Beginning 2007, eAdvocate migrated operations to Google Blogspot [10], and remains active as of 2015. (Note: eAdvoate passed away in 2018.)

In 2006, a new Google blog called “Sex Offender Issues” [11] was created; SOI’s unique gift to the Anti-Registry Movement was the dissemination of news videos via YouTube [12]. The SOI blog was active until 2017.

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” [13], 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” [14] 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 [15] 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 [16].

SOSEN was officially incorporated in the spring of 2007, and created an independent website [17] 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” [18]. 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 Citizens.

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 [19].

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 [20] (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 [21].

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” [22], the “Silent No More” rally was in many ways a success [23], 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 [24] and Texas [25] 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 [26]. 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 [27]).

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 [28]. 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 game.

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) [29]. 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.

Current Status of the Anti-Registry Movement

Over the years, activists have come and gone. As of July 2023, the National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws (NARSOL), the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL), and Women Against Registry (WAR) comprise the “Big 3” anti-registry activist groups. In addition, numerous state groups, from Texas Voices to Florida Action Committee in larger states, to groups like Nebraskans Unafraid and Iowans Unafraid in smaller states, encourage Registered Persons and their loved ones to engage in anti-registry activism. Sites like Once Fallen continue to offer support through education and information sharing.

It is estimated that between 3000-5000 people across America are engaged in anti-registry activism across the US. These numbers are still small (it is estimated there are now about a million Registered Persons in the US), but growing. 

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 [31]. 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 [32], 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 [33], 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 [34], 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 (later ACSOL) 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 [35].

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 a part of the Anti-Registry Movement, a website called “Corrupted Justice” [36] 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,’ [37] exposes those who try to scam Registered Citizens in private mugshot pay-for-removal schemes, while other projects like Absolute Zero Unites [38] (an anti-online vigilante blog) and the Shiitake Awards [39] (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 [40].  Absolute Zero United failed to sabotage the conference. In fact, these “concerned citizens” gave the conference lots of exposure [41] 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 [42] 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 [43]. Some of Lauren Book’s supporters from FloridaPolitics.com wrote editorials asking the ARM not to protest the event [44].

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 [45]. 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.” [46] 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 [47] to promote more activism within our cause. In November 2015, ARM’s Oregon wing has created a ballot initiative in an attempt to remove the registry from the public eye [48]. California RSOL (rebranded ACSOL) has conducted two public demonstrations in Carson City, CA [49] and one in Sacramento [50].

From “Sex Offender to “Registered Person” to “Person Forced to Register”

Our Movement continues to evolve, and with that evolution comes changes in approach and philosophy. The use of proper terms has been a topic of much discussion over the years, as anti-registry groups had many discussions over the years on proper terminology, including “ex-sex-offender” or “ex-offender.” 

The term “Registered Citizen,” the most commonly used term today by anti-registry activists, was first used in 2007, when Colorado registrant Gregory Carter established a business called the “Registered Citizens Network” in August 2007. [50] The business failed to attract clients, but over time, the term “Registered Citizen,” or some variation including Registered Person and Registrants, would eventually become the dominant accepted term among anti-registry activists. 

Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL) is now National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws (NARSOL). As explained by the organization, the group felt it was necessary to remove the term “sex offend-ER” from the name. Over the years, “sex offender” has often been used interchangeably with “pedophile,” implying that one is poised to attack children at the first opportunity. “Sex Offender” is an adjective that us misused as a pronoun. As NARSOL has explained:

For years, RSOL’s board of directors struggled over the fact that the words “sex offender” were included in our corporate name. Like many of you, we are sensitive about using the term and preferred a more appropriate nomenclature. Registrants or registered citizens are standard usage now unless it’s absolutely necessary to revert to “sex offenders” to ensure the broader public understands the reference…We felt that whatever name we arrived at should retain the familiar letters R-S-O-L, but we also wanted to jettison the words “sex offender.” [51]

When the California RSOL split from the national RSOL group in 2016, it also made a name change, becoming the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL). It also gave a rational explanation for the name change:

The new name is significant in two ways: 1. it no longer uses the name of the state in which it was incorporated and 2. it uses the term “sex offense” instead of “sex offender”. The CA RSOL board of directors determined that these changes are necessary because the organization has outgrown the borders of the State of California.  For example, individuals in many states utilize the organization’s website on a regular basis and contact the organization to request information on topics outside the state’s borders such as international travel and legal strategies. The CA RSOL board of directors determined that these changes are desirable in order to change the focus of the organization’s work from individuals who have been labeled as “sex offenders” for the rest of their lives based upon an offense they committed often decades ago.” [52]

While it may seem like a matter of semantics to an outsider, it is a matter of significance for those who are labeled by society as “sex offenders.”

More recent developments include efforts to compel outside agencies to use alternative terms. These efforts have been met with  resistance, however. Efforts in 2020 to implore the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) was met with fierce resistence from prosecutors and victim advocates. [53]

As of 2024, NARSOL, ACSOL, and WAR act as the “Big 3” activist groups, with dozens of state-specific activist groups like Florida Action Committeee (FAC) and Texas Voices, in addition to numerous smaller activist organizations. These organizations have hosted conferences and public awareness events, spoken at legislative meetings, held media interviews, and run support groups for Persons Forced to Register. 

Truth be told, we are not a unified front. The efforts to reform or abolish the sex offense registry is fiercely divided on our goals and the means to achieve them. In a 2023 survey of 695 anti-registry activists conducted by Once Fallen (unpublished as of March 2024 but will be published soon), only about 55% of respondents believed the registry should be abolished. Thus, nearly half do not consider themselves “Anti-Registry.” 

Final Thoughts

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-Registry Movement.

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 [54].

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.

ARM Protest/ Public Awareness Event Timeline

  • December 1, 2007: Columbus, Ohio – Statehouse, protesting Ohio’s decision to become first AWA state
  • March 3, 2008: Coalinga, CA – Civil Commitment Center (https://kmph.com/archive/dozens-rally-outside-coalinga-state-hospital)
  • January 2014: Washington DC – DC Courthouse, on behalf of Dennis Sobin and his “Idiots Registry” website which was a form of protesting against the registration office
  • March 2015: Carson City, CA – Against a citywide park ban against Registered Persons
  • April 22, 2015: Tallahassee, FL – State capital, against Lauren Book for her role in making registrants in Miami homeless
  • April 20, 2016: Long Island, NY – PFML Corporate Office, against a controversial contract allowing PFML, a private company, to conduct compliance checks on behalf of the state
  • July 27, 2016: Oakland, CA – Federal courthouse, protesting IML’s passport marks
  • September 12, 2018: Portland, ME – University of Southern Maine, the “art protest,” where we brought art created by registrants in response to the University’s removal of art by a registrant on campus
  • July 17-18, 2019: Chicago, IL – SMART Symposium, a silent protest through the wearing of shirts with similar slogans and meeting with attendees to the event
  • September 24, 2020: Denver, CO – 10th Circuit Courthouse, protesting Millard v Camper, a ruling that reversed an unprecedented ruling in which the district court had held Colorado’s registration act to be unconstitutional on multiple grounds.
  • July 17, 2021: ARM (WAR and OnceFallen) assisted the Voices of OCEAN/ End MSOP group to organize a rally against the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) at the Minnesota State House in St. Paul, MN
  • April 11, 2022: Texas FACTS and Texans Against Civil Commitment (TACC) held a joint protest against the Texas Civil Commitment program in Littlefield TX.
  • Sept 13, 2022: ARM assisted TX-FACTS in holding a rally at the Texas State House in Austin, TX. 
  • March 7, 2023: ARM held a vigil in front of the SCOTUS Builduing in Washington DC for the 20th anniversary of the Smith v Doe ruling. It was decided that this vigil would become an annual event in the same location around the same time evey year. 


  1. A copy of the original petition can be found here: https://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Statements/a_call_to_safeguard.htm
  2. See http://web.archive.org/web/20000413182601/http://www.sohopeful.org/mission_statement.htm
  3. See http://web.archive.org/web/20000530121315/http://www.sohopeful.org/court_descision1.htm
  4. Wong, Peter. “Oregon sex offenders’ data won’t go online.” Statesman Journal. 6 Mar. 2003. Web. web.archive.org/web/20030810232439/http://sohopeful.org/News/2003/News%20-%202003-03-06%20-%20State%20Police%20Will%20Not%20Post.htm>
  5. Bernstein, Maxine. “Sex Offenders in Oregon: State fails to track hundreds.” OregonLive. Oregonian Media Group. 1 Oct. 2013. Web.  10 Feb. 2015. <http://www.oregonlive.com/sexoffenders/special-presentation?>
  6. http://sosen.org/about, Retrieved 2 Feb 2015.
  7. A copy can be found at http://www.oocities.org/eadvocate/index.html
  8. A copy can be found at http://www.oocities.org/eadvocate/issues/index.html
  9. A copy can be found at http://www.oocities.org/voicism/harm-master.html
  10. http://sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com/
  11. http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/
  12. https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialSOIssues
  13. Get the report at http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/09/11/us-sex-offender-laws-may-do-more-harm-good
  14. Later changing its name to “RSOVA: Registered Sex Offender and Victim Advocates.” The website was last updated in 2013 <http://www.rsova.com/>
  15. Shannon, Paul. “An Urgent Call to Support the Well-Being of Children and the Rights of Us All.” CounterPunch. 10 July, 2007. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/07/10/an-urgent-call-to-support-the-well-being-of-children-and-the-rights-of-us-all/>
  16. http://nationalrsol.org/about-us/
  17. www.sosen.org
  18. https://www.youtube.com/user/soclearmedia
  19. Madison, Tom. “Activist Tom Madison remembers the 2007 the City of Miami Beach news conference and protest project.” Message to the author. 20 Feb. 2015. Email.
  20. See the announcement from Operation Awareness at http://web.archive.org/web/20070706173139/http://www.operationawareness.com/Miami_press_release.html
  21. Madison, Tom. “Interview with Ivette Candelaria of Miami Florida, mother of homeless sex offender.” Online video. Youtube. 22 July 2009. Web. 11 Feb 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xauh4T0I3G8>
  22. Zachariah, Holly. “Sex offenders rally against laws.” Columbus Dispatch. 2 Dec. 2007. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2007/12/02/THERALLY.ART_ART_12-02-07_B4_FF8L84F.html>
  23. Logue, Derek. “’Silent No More: Out of the Shadows’ Rally.” Once Fallen. 2 Dec 2007. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. <http://www.https://oncefallen.com/SilentNoMoreRallyDec07.html>
  24. http://web.archive.org/web/20081217015122/http://cfcoklahoma.org/
  25. http://texasvoices.org/about-texas-voices/
  26. http://www.https://oncefallen.com/maryduval.html
  27. http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/29521
  28. ARC Talk Radio on July 2, 2009. http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=238718&cmd=apop
  29. https://www.womenagainstregistry.org/
  30. “Perry ready to sign ‘Romeo and Juliet’ bill.” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 11 May 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://lubbockonline.com/texas/2011-05-11/perry-ready-sign-8216romeo-and-juliet8217-bill#.VObHFJ3F8Ro>. See also <http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB198> for the text of the SB198
  31. DePrang, Emily. “Life On The List.” Texas Observer. 31 May 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://www.texasobserver.org/life-on-the-list/>
  32. Hyle v. Porter, 2008 Ohio 542 – Ohio: Supreme Court 2008
  33. State v. Bodyke, 126 Ohio St.3d 266, 2010-Ohio-2424
  34. State v. Williams, 129 Ohio St.3d 344, 2011-Ohio-3374
  35. Nelson, Joe. “SPECIAL REPORT: Pair seeks repeal of sex-offender laws in California.” San Bernardino County Sun. 11 Oct.
    2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20141011/special-report-pair-seeks-repeal-of-sex-offender-laws-in-california>
  36. The site went offline around 2012 after Perverted Justice ceased most of its operations, but the mission statement can still be found at http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/2008/09/corrupted-justicecom-who-are-they.html. See also http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=260587&page=1&singlePage=true
  37. http://www.offendextortion.com/
  38. http://absolutezerounites.blogspot.com/
  39. http://shiitakeawards.blogspot.com/
  40. “Turn out low at APD town hall.” KRQE. 4 Sept. 2012. Youtube. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://youtu.be/wIm8rclXhIo>; Lohmann, Patrick. “Meeting Draws Negative Attention.” Albuquerque Journal. 5 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2015. <http://www.abqjournal.com/128240/news/meeting-draws-negative-attention.html>
  41. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSTd7IgvNsW0SmrJox-Z0dt2ugjKOOgdA; See also http://sosen.org/wordpress/wp-
  42. See https://youtu.be/r5QN30VMMYg?t=2h1m51 ; note Derek Logue of Once Fallen was only one of the half dozen or so who approached the counter-protesters.
  43. See http://floridaactioncommittee.org/fac-is-not-affiliated-with-rally-in-tally-protest/ , “The rally, which will coincide with the “Walk In My Shoes” event, is organized by Women Against Registry, Oregon Action Committee and Derek Logue, none of whom are Florida residents or Florida organizations. FAC is not affiliated with these organizations. While we might agree with Registry Reform, we strongly disagree with the timing of this rally and are concerned that it might create confusion as to the underlying message. For this reason, we disagree with the timing of the rally and will not be participating in this event.
  44. Knight, John. “JOHN KNIGHT: DON’T EXERCISE RIGHT TO PROTEST WALK BY LAUREN’S KIDS.” FloridaPolitics.com. 21 Apr 2015. Web. <http://floridapolitics.com/archives/21077-john-knight-dont-exercise-right-to-protest-walk-by-laurens-kids>
  45. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqCJPW0KTg4 for a complete recap of the event.
  46. Funcheon, Dierdra. “AS LAUREN BOOK HINTS AT RUN, SOME QUESTION IF HER CHARITY COULD BECOME POLITICAL TOOL.” Miami New Times. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. <http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/as-lauren-book-hints-at-run-some-question-if-her-charity-could-become-political-tool-6559904>
  47. See http://anti-registrymovement.weebly.com/
  48. See http://anti-registrymovement.weebly.com/oregon.html
  49. Mazza, Sandy. “Convicted sex offenders seeking more rights in Carson.” The Daily Breeze. 25 July 2015. Web. <http://www.dailybreeze.com/general-news/20150725/convicted-sex-offenders-seeking-more-rights-in-carson>
  50. David Migoya. “Firm’s target clientele: sex offenders.” The Denver Post. 8 Aug 2007. Accessed 20 Aug 2022 at https://www.denverpost.com/2007/08/08/firms-target-clientele-sex-offenders/
  51. Luciano, Lilia. “Sex offenders protest their right for travel.” KXTV ABC 10 Sacramento. TENGA. 27 July 2016. Web. <http://www.abc10.com/news/local/california/sex-offenders-protest-their-right-for-travel/282998981>
  52. “From RSOL to NARSOL, but why?” National Association for Rational Sex Offense Laws. 9 Jan. 2017. Web. <http://nationalrsol.org/from-rsol-to-narsol-but-why/>
  54. Logue, Derek W. “Rethinking the ‘Sex Offender’ Label.” The Crime Report. 23 Nov. 2021. Web. <https://thecrimereport.org/2021/11/23/rethinking-the-sex-offender-label/>
  55. “In Memory of David Hess – Advocate to the End.” SAEN (formerly USA Fair). 19 Mar 2014. Web.<http://www.saeninc.org/?page=4