Port Austin Bible Campus; PO Box 474, Port Austin, Michigan 48467 989-738-7700 www.portaustin.net/pabc
Port Austin Bible Campus, 8180 Port Drive, PO Box 474, Port Austin,
Michigan, USA, 48467.  •  989-738-7700  •  pabc@portaustin.net
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People on the Sex Offender Registry

Michigan Resources for Registered Offenders

What PABC Still Does

PABC stopped housing registered sex offenders on campus as of August 20, 2015,and will not allow any more to live on campus in the future. This has been done to increase the services that we are able to offer to families with children. Some people working in the judicial system and other government agencies felt it was too risky to have registered offenders and children in the same facility, and they would not allow children at PABC for that reason. Since children rarely cause their own homelessness, we believe they need the most help and we want to maximize our services to them.

Even so, people who are on the Sex Offender Registry are still made in the image of God, and when they have fulfilled their jail or prison time, they still need a place to live. Most would be sent back to jail or prison if they do not have an address. If they deserve life in prison, then the laws should be changed to reflect that. But once released, they need a chance to live somewhere, get a job, support themselves, and understand the purpose for which God has made them.

Rather than simply refuse to help people on the registry, PABC has devised a plan whereby it can find off campus placement for them. PABC will not bring sex offenders on campus for interviews, but only accept letters, phone calls and e-mails. All interviews will take place at some distant location. Before explaining the new ministry, we include a summary of what we have learned over the past five years. Unfortunately, most people seem to believe that everyone on the registry is an evil person lurking around schools and playgrounds, hoping to grab and molest some innocent child. There are such offenders, but that is a small minority. PABC has housed 17 registered sex offenders, considered housing another 12, and briefly housed 13 people whom it considered sexually dangerous, but who are not on the registry. This has been our experience:

What Is Good for Everybody?

The goals of any effort to help people on the sex offender registry should be as follows:

  1. Help them change their thinking to want to obey the laws of man and God.
  2. Provide a path so they can have a place to live, support themselves, re-enter society and have a meaningful life.
  3. Provide warning to other citizens of offenders who are likely to repeat their crimes.
  4. Provide testimony to convict repeat offenders.

A Christian housing ministry for those on the offender registry helps with all of the above points. Here is how:

  1. Regular Bible teaching shows that God intended all sexual acts to be within marriage and that he will hold each person accountable for this in the judgment. Even if a person is clever enough to escape the laws of man, he or she will not escape the judgment of God. When a person is tempted to do evil, God promises to provide strength to escape it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  2. Without Christian housing for sex offenders, they tend to gravitate to other places where they can stay for little money and possibly earn some money. These are often places that deal in drug sales, prostitution and other criminal activity. They are terrible places to reform one’s life. When people are regularly violating other laws and running the risk of getting caught, it is much easier to repeat sex offenses as well. When a former sex offender has a positive place to live, that will let him stay as long as he is reasonably trying to get a job, there is much less temptation to go back to old ways. Bible teachings of forgiveness and love toward neighbor provide reason and power to go forward. If they live in a place where they are treated like dirt, even though they are doing nothing wrong, it will be much more difficult for them to recover.
  3. We are not so foolish to think that Christian housing will cause everyone on the sex offender list to change. Mankind has been given free will, within certain limits, and many people continue to choose to do whatever they want to do. But when an offender lives with a Christian group of people, their actions become known. Is a person drawn to pornography, risque videos and provocatively dressed people? Do they disappear at odd hours and either refuse to talk about where they went or give stories that prove to be false? When offenders are living on their own, nobody asks these questions. But when they live in a Christian environment, a caring person will ask these questions—hoping the person will mend their ways, or require them to leave the area. When PABC has decided to ask a Guest to leave for these kinds of suspicious but non-criminal offenses, it usually makes a call to law enforcement. About a third of those Guests end up in Jail within the next few months.
  4. Strange as it may sound, some sex offenders fail to follow their legal registration requirements or other probation conditions, even though their Christian hosts told them they will be watching them. If offenders are willing to violate procedural laws that could send them back to incarceration, would not they also be willing to violate sex crime laws again? Probably so. These are dangerous people. Just as Christ forgave repentant sinners yet condemned those who insisted on remaining evil, so the Christian must encourage the repentant sinner but also testify against those who want to continue in sex offenses. PABC has done this in the past, and its Off-Campus Housing Ministry will do it in the future.

PABC Off Campus Housing Ministry

The PABC Off Campus Housing Ministry is just like what it sounds—ministerial-directed housing for people off of the PABC campus. It has many other purposes, but housing cooperative sex offenders is one purpose, as the children on the PABC campus render it impossible to effectively serve both populations at the same place. It is not good to have homeless sex offenders walking the streets or to have them live in places that encourage illegal activity. Therefore, PABC is including them in its Off Campus Housing Ministry

  1. PABC will ask those who are taking part in its Off Campus Housing Ministry if they are willing to accept registered sex offenders. While most probably will not, a few probably will. Because the program keeps names and locations strictly confidential, there will not be trouble with neighbors trying to stop them from serving in this ministry before they even get started. Once an offender moves in, anyone can check the registry to know that they are there—just as they can check when one rents a nearby house or apartment. Efforts to stop an offender from living where they can lawfully live are illegal and are likely to do more harm than good.
  2. PABC will help Hosts evaluate whether they can accept offenders or not. If they have children living at home, or if they are too close to schools, parks, playgrounds, etc., they may not be able to participate in the program at all. Many Hosts will want to accept only a certain gender or age of person.
  3. PABC will accept letters, phone calls and e-mails from offenders and let them know if there are any potential Hosts. If so, PABC will arrange for and participate in interviews with the potential Hosts, either at the Host’s home or some neutral location.
  4. PABC will also provide a sample set of rules from its own experience, which the Host may adopt as necessary. PABC has successfully treated those it serves as “guests”, as opposed to “tenants”, which makes it much easier to get them to leave on short notice.
  5. PABC will provide other essential help in the same way it serves other off campus Guests—except Registered Sex Offenders will not be able to participate in any meetings or functions at PABC.

So why would anyone, who has a quiet peaceful life, want to take someone into their home who is on the sex offender list? It is unlikely that they will receive anything from this effort that will fiscally compensate them for their efforts. A lot could go wrong and PABC does not have any insurance to cover it. But some Christians believe the scriptures and trust God for what He says. Most Christians know the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37). The priest and the Levite did not help the wounded traveler—probably because it was too dangerous. The robbers might still be around and it would be easy to attack someone on the ground, tending to an injured person. But the Samaritan, a man largely despised by the people of the day, was willing to get off his own donkey, tend to the injured man and put him on his donkey. He did it because it was worth risking danger to help a man in need.

And so it is worth bringing people into one's house who might not otherwise have any place to live, and who one can help on the path toward life, rather than a path toward crime and death. God promises to help believers who do this:

I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people. When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don't turn your back on your own flesh and blood! Then your light will shine like the sunrise; your restoration will quickly arrive; your godly behavior will go before you, and the LORD's splendor will be your rear guard (Isaiah 58:7-8, NET).

PABC cannot do the Off-Campus Housing Ministry by itself. It can only share its experiences and coordinate with others willing to perform this service to God and their fellow man.

These were his instructions to them: "The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields (Luke 10:2, NET).

Confusing Offender Rating Systems

When PABC accepted sex offenders in the past, some government officials encouraged us to take only those with a "less dangerous" rating. While that may sound simple enough, the two ranking systems in place do a poor job. Michigan's Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes (MCL 750.520a - n) have four degrees, the first degree being the most most serious and the fourth degree being the least serious. But when an offender is convicted and placed on the registry, they are assigned a "tier" level, from 1 to 3, which is the opposite order, 1 being the least dangerous and 3 being the most dangerous.

Even though the three tiers are promoted as an indicator of a former convict’s danger to society, they are only marginally useful for that. In general, tier 1 people exposed themselves, or touched others through their clothes, tier 2 touched others directly and tier 3 penetrated them. What the numbers do not tell, which is far more important, is how much criminal intent or “victim’s’ consent” is involved. For example, people who urinate in a public place, thinking they are alone, but seen by others can be prosecuted and become a tier 1 offender. They may have intended nothing sexual, but jut gave in to a bad idea. On the other hand, people who deliberately expose themselves to sexually offend or excite others are usually rated the same tier 1.

At the other extreme, a high school couple can have safe sex like they were taught in health class, but the older one can be rated a tier 3 offender for life because he was 18 and his willing-to-have-sex girlfriend was 15. It does not matter if he never knew about the law or if his girlfriend lied about her age and said she was 18. He will have the same tier 3 rating as a convicted 40-year old who hid in a park and forcibly raped unsuspecting children.

If we are trying to evaluate an offender's danger to the public, we must try to measure the level of consensuality he or she seeks. Offenders who only do things with those who are willing to do it with them are not very dangerous. There is great danger with those who want to force sex upon others, or who think the others want it when they clearly say they do not. Also, there are some people who can get along in peace most of the time, but when they get angry, jilted or triggered in some other way, they may occasionally get sexually forceful. So how can the public best be protected?

A tier system that included the level of consensuality in the offence would be an improvement—but the Michigan legislature will have to bring this about. But we are fighting an uphill battle. The fundamental problem is that our entertainment and society is full of adultery and fornication—sexual acts between unmarried people. As long as schools and laws encourage unmarried sex between consenting adults and consenting minors (technically illegal but almost never prosecuted), they are going to have a difficult time preventing sex between un-consenting people or between adults and minors.

Lessons Learned From Formerly Housing Sex Offenders

No. of people PABC Classification of Its Past Offenders from Most to Least Dangerous
1 Dangerous offender. This older man was still accumulating toys to attract children and talked about sexual interest in almost any female. Yet, our justice system rated him a tier 2, the middle level of danger. PABC helped send him to jail for not registering.
13 Dangerous but not registered offenders. These people have never been convicted of a crime that would put them on the sex offender registry. Nevertheless, we found them to be promiscuous and not very discriminating in their desires. Most of these people seem far less fearful of being apprehended for a sex crime compared to those already on the registry. We sent all of them out of PABC when we figured this out. Please note that there are probably many people like this out in society—as they have no restrictions as to where they can live, who they can “babysit”, etc.
2 “Crazy” people. These people were dealing with severe mental issues in addition to being registered sex offenders. They were required to leave PABC because of other issues. Nevertheless, when people appear to lack basic knowledge of what is normal human behavior, anything might be possible.
9 Promiscuous people. Nearly all these people had consensual sex with someone who was in their teens, and who had a parent that wanted to prosecute. They never pushed or forced anyone. After being prosecuted, these people really wanted to avoid any more sex crimes, but they still had a desire for sex wherever else they could find it. Most left PABC to continue in a series of unbiblical, but not illegal, sexual relationships.
4 Recovered offenders. These seemed to have lost their desire for any kind of promiscuity and either were determined to remain single or entered a marriage relationship.
1 Unknown. This person found new housing in two days—before we could form an opinion.
12 Never lived at PABC. We never had sufficient chance to see what they were really like, but:
5 were rejected in initial conversations—they had a predatory record and were minimizing it, not repenting.
1 was rejected for lying in the interview.
3 were required by parole officers to go elsewhere because PABC had children.
3 found another place on their own before PABC accepted them.