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AG Madigan issues Halloween warning

Tuesday, Oct 31, 2017

* I saw a bit of criticism of AG Madigan on social media and elsewhere for this, but the Tribune notes an important point

It’s Halloween, that day of the year when kids dress up as their favorite Marvel superhero, “Walking Dead” zombie or Disney princess and ring neighborhood doorbells begging for candy and threatening pranks if they don’t get any.

Against that backdrop of fun and tomfoolery comes Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan with a warning: check the state’s sex offender registry before you head out to trick or treat.

“The number of known sex offenders throughout Illinois is extremely alarming, and they do not live in any one neighborhood or community; they live in every part of our state,” Madigan said in a statement.

Lest you think that was a bit of alarmist hyperbole from the outgoing attorney general, her office included some stats: there are more than 30,200 registered sex offenders on the Illinois State Police’s list, and more than 24,700 of those committed a crime against a child.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    It is ridiculous. “registered sex offenders” live all around us and the registry doesn’t tell us if it was random attacks on strangers, abuse of a family member, an inappropriate relationship, or sending a nudie photo. And why would the offender offend in his own neighborhood on halloween at his own house? Put that in the category with all the poisoned candy kids keep getting and razor blades in the apples.

  2. - Mongo - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    She is right. Did the Tribune actually agree with her?

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    I’d get the criticism if the message was directed at kids, but this is clearly intended for adults.

  4. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 9:55 am:

    I’ve never heard such a warning. Meanwhile I’ve heard about razor blades in candy for every halloween since i can remember memories. This is certainly a more responsible and useful warning

  5. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    I’m shocked an elected official is endorsing Tomfoolery; but then again she is after all a lame duck.

  6. - City Zen - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    ==The number of known sex offenders throughout Illinois is extremely alarming==

    Is Illinois some sort of outlier in this regard? Are other AG’s across the country issuing the same warnings?

  7. - Yiddishcowboy - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    This is a necessary, timely warning. I was discussing this issue with my wife last night; I was concerned for our kid’s safety (my wife accompanies them house to house ). I just don’t get the criticism of Madigan, unless the “informed” voters complaining thought the Speaker was also the AG) /s

  8. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    My wife and I routinely check the sex offender registry so we know if there are any living in our neighborhood. I don’t think most parents would view this warning as “alarmist hyperbole”. It’s a different world today from the one I went trick or treating in.

  9. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    ===Meanwhile I’ve heard about razor blades in candy for every halloween since i can remember memories===

    Razor blades in Halloween candy has never been anything more than urban legend. But adults have treated at as a nationwide epidemic since the 1970s.

  10. - MSIX - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    =Meanwhile I’ve heard about razor blades in candy for every halloween since i can remember memories.=

    I remember my mother warning us about that. But we knew everyone at every house in our neighborhood. I always wondered which of our neighbors she thought would do something like that. And in truth, the apples themselves became more of a threat, especially if you were dumb enough to go out in a big washing machine box dressed as a robot. Don’t ask me how I know this.

  11. - state worker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:24 am:

    We all want children to be safe on Halloween. The problem is that accidents are the leading cause of their death, especially car related accidents. And on Halloween, the number of car-related deaths among children GOES UP BY 4x. There is no increase in sex-related offenses on Halloween.

    So if we wanted to use the evidence to direct parents on how to keep kids safe, we would really hone in on cars.

  12. - Responsa - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    Do the people who often accuse others here of “badmouthing” Illinois have a problem with Lisa’s warning about the extraordinary number of current registered sex offenders in Illinois? I hope not.

    Thank you, Lisa for the reminder to all that we can love this state and *still* be willing to point to and honestly discuss its flaws and dangers.

  13. - state worker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    This is helpful information from treatment providers and researchers:

  14. - state worker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    I’m not bad-mouthing Lisa and I think she’s been a great AG. But, we have so many kids deeply neglected, experiencing trauma, and living in poverty. They are currently suffering as we read this blog.

    Yet, like so many policies, we use the public platform to instead talk about things that are not even evidence-based.

    1 in 4 of young children in Illinois now lives in poverty and even more are hungry. We should bring attention to those kids, and let policies follow.

  15. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    If you go to the registry and agree to the terms you can do a neighborhood search. I have spent some time at the State Fair at a booth showing people how to do this. It can be quite a shock.

  16. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    @state worker -

    You suggest there is something trivial about Madigan’s efforts.

    1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18;

    1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18;

    It is true that within that group, random perps are a small slice.

    But you have to get parents thinking about their responsibility to keep kids safe from harm before you can get them to act to keep kids safe from another caregiver/family member.

  17. - child protector - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Sexual abuse and assault of children is important to address but Halloween scaremongering doesn’t do that, is counter-factual, and Lisa Madigan should be ashamed of herself.

    The sex offender registry does not keep children safe.

    Looking up who is listed on it does not keep your children safe.

    The public misunderstands the truth because of very reasonable fears.

    Politicians like Lisa Madigan use those fears to look as though the problem of child sexual abuse is actually being handled, which only spreads misinformation about actual risks to children and their sources.

    There is no elevated risk of sexual assault of children on Halloween.

    The biggest sexual assault risk to your children on Halloween and EVERY other day comes from people you already know who are NOT on the sex offender registry.

  18. - state worker - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    Hi Free Set of Steak Knives,
    I think we agree. We must address child sexual abuse and neglect, and we want prevention. My point is only that public safety efforts should truly improve public safety.

    For the reasons you site, the prevention and public health field have found that stranger danger myths do more harm than good for prevention and detection. Even people likely to abuse may be in denial about what they do because they see these people as horrible strangers, not themselves. It’s the ordinary people in our lives who do the abusing, unfortunately. But it is preventable and addressable.

  19. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Pictures of kids on milk cartons. Still do that? I think it was found a very high percentage of children missing were custody issues - it was wrong, just misleading, and seriously so. Kids would see pictures as they ate their cereal, and disturbing thoughts and fears sort of ruined the start of another school day. In the fifties, I worried every time a jet flew over - thought it just might be that nuke from the commies we were ingrained to believe. The AG is not over the line, but parents do need to be sensible and reasonable precautionary. Impossible to keep kids from all harm.

  20. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 1:25 pm:

    “It is true that within that group, random perps are a small slice.”

    You are correct.

    • About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members.

    • About 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, child care providers, neighbors.

    • Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.


    – MrJM

  21. - Molly Maguire - Tuesday, Oct 31, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    An unusual misstep by AG Madigan. This is unnecessary and alarmist.

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