The Problems, Misconceptions, and Issues Of Treating Younger Sex Offenders - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Problems, Misconceptions, and Issues Of Treating Younger Sex Offenders

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TRI-CITIES, Wash. - The problem of juvenile sex offenders is seen throughout the entire country.

Both the Kennewick Police and Tri-Cities Sex Offender Counselor Michael Henry said they are not seeing an increase in juvenile sex offenders, but rather an increase in the severity of the offenses.

Experts said that many people have a preconceived notion of a sex offender.  Many people think of an older man, maybe a stranger waiting ready to attack.

Henry said, "In general it's viewed as someone in the bushes an older guy who is grabbing kids off the street, trying to rape someone at random.  I think that's the viewpoint of a sex abuser.

But Henry said that is wrong.  He's been treating sex offenders in the Tri-Cities for years, both old and young.  Henry said, "Juveniles and adults, it's too different ball games."

Confessed child rapist James Wamsley was sentenced to a minimum of 13-and-a-half years in prison last February.  He could eventually spend the rest of his life behind bars.

When Wamsley was 17-years-old he sexually assaulted a 9-month old baby boy.

Henry said, "I believe this is an extreme act of violence.  I think part of it was sexual. I think part of it was anger and aggression, mostly aggression. I think the plan was to hurt someone beyond a sexual gratification."

Henry said it is much harder to treat an offender who is a minor compared to and adult. 

He said, "It's easy to tell an adult to stay away from the park or to stay away from the mall but for minors, we tell them to get on the bus, but to sit in the back ...  treating juveniles is more difficult."

Henry believes the crimes are getting more severe because kids are exposed to a lot more online and on television.  

Experts also blame a lack of father figures in many homes and an increase in broken homes.

They encourage more parents to talk to their children about sexuality.