In recent weeks, Curt Schilling, sports analyst and former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, published a 1,900 word essay on his blog denouncing individuals who tweeted sexually explicit obscenities to his teenage daughter. The tweets came after Schilling announced his daughter’s acceptance to a Rhode Island university where she will be playing softball. Schilling, outraged, has been on a mission to identify all of the tweeters who verbally attacked his daughter, and has discussed the potential of pursuing criminal charges against them with the aim to put them on Megan’s Law. Schilling has been quoted saying:
“Should I choose to pursue all of them, (they) could be followed around the rest of their lives with a sexual offender tag. . . . Those people have to register everywhere they go. They have to inform everyone they ever apply for a job with. Every community — go to the sex offender website, look at it. Every one that tweeted the stuff that I am talking about could be … criminally labeled a sex offender.”
Based on the above statement, Mr. Schilling misunderstands the purpose of Megan’s Law and sex offender registration.
The intent of Megan’s Law is to protect the public from sex offense recidivism. The courts in New Jersey have determined that Megan’s Law is not punishment, and that it is remedial in nature, i.e. remedy or cure. Unfortunately, Schilling’s statement clearly indicates that he thinks Megan’s Law is intended to punish people, which is not the case. This is misfortunate because it is a misuse of the sex offender registry, which is intended to alert the public of dangerous individuals. Even though the inappropriate tweets to his daughter may have been troubling, it is no excuse to dilute the registry and the State’s resources on offenders who do not pose a risk for sex offense recidivism.
“Second NJ Man ID’d in Curt Schilling tweet case,” by Shannon Mullen, Asbury Park Press, March 4, 2015.
“Schilling on tweets aimed at daughter: I have more names,” by Shannon Mullen, Asbury Park Press, March 5, 2015.