Treatment for Sexual Disorders
Editor: In his Feb. 4 article, "Hopkins Doctor Advocates Treatment," William Zorzi Jr. mentions three cases of offenders who had been in treatment at the Sexual Disorders Clinic and who had gone on to reoffend. He does not balance this by mentioning all the cases that have been successful.
A 1991 article in the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry notes the recidivism rates for 626 male patients treated at the clinic over a five-year period. The study found that treatment-compliant patients showed a 4.7 percent sexual recidivism rate. The rate for pedophiles, or those who sexually abuse children, was 2.9 percent.
In Maryland, 38.7 percent of those who had been released from prison between 1980 and 1983 were reincarcerated for subsequent offenses. It is overwhelmingly apparent that individuals fare much better with treatment and that prison is not the best deterrent. Since an individual will be released at some point from prison, it is important that treatment be instituted to prevent the person from further sexually acting out.
Mr. Zorzi presents the case of a man attending therapy at the clinic, who was on probation for a Miami rape and who was later charged with accosting several women. What this vignette fails to mentioned is that this same person has not reoffended since 1987 and is currently a successful and respected member of the Baltimore community.
Mr. Zorzi also mentions the highly volatile issue of the child sexual abuse reporting laws. The clinic carefully tracked voluntary disclosures between Jan. 1, 1984 and July 1, 1988, when the reporting laws went into effect. It was found that an average of slightly less than two self-disclosures a month were reported to the clinic staff. Since 1988, no such disclosures have been made. Individuals who self-disclosed prior to 1988 were subjected to a clinical treatment regime that include hospitalization, removal from the home and voluntary use of Depo Provera, a sexual appetite suppressant.
Mr. Zorzi makes it sound as though there is a major schism between advocates for children and those who treat sex offenders. Those who treat sex offenders are also child advocates. Treating offenders prevents reoffense. They are not an opposite sides of the fence from those who treat the victims but devoted to the exactly same goal -- to protect the children.
The writer is an outpatient therapist at the Sexual Disorders Clinic.
Slow Dance Spots
Editor: In answer to Richard W. Fogg's Jan. 21 letter, "Slow Dancing," there are two places in the area that offer a variety of other music such as cha cha, waltz, polka and slow jitter bug or swing.
One place is called Kocents Inn at the corner of Fleet St. and Milton Ave. They have music on Saturdays and offer a variety of musicians.
The other place is Polish Home on Broadway near Fleet St. which has music every Friday evening. They too, offer a variety of this kind of music.
RF Both places are listed in the phone book if you wish to call them.
Anne Curry. Baltimore.
The Sex Thing
Editor: So suddenly, everyone is interested in the Democratic presidential race. Last week, Bill Clinton was just another faceless name in a pack of unfamiliar names vying for the White House. Today, he is a household name, perhaps too well known in one too many households.
This infidelity controversy whets everyone's appetite. The questions arise at work, in the taxicabs, over dinner: Does his private life matter? Is he telling the truth? Will you vote for him?
The answers, of course, vary. However, how can these questions even be asked when most people are not even aware of his policies? Anyone with a pulse knows all about this sex thing, but how many know what Clinton plans to do with the recession, unemployment and the deficit?
This country is in deep recession and should be more concerned with the nation's future than an alleged 12-year extramarital affair. Most Americans are unhappy with the way President Bush has handled economic affairs in his four-year tenure. Is there anyone else who can do a better job? (Of course, it would be tough to imagine anyone doing a worse job.)
It is America's responsibility to itself to be educated and informed on the policies of the presidential candidates. The issue of extra-marital affairs should not be ignored but should be far lower on everyone's priority list.
Editor: The Sun recommends that additional tax checkoffs not be added to the income tax forms to raise money for other government causes because it is confusing. Simplicity has its merit.
However, a simple fund-raising idea that works in Dallas could raise funds here. The Dallas program allows jurors to check off a box on their notification form that they will donate their daily $6 jury payment directly to their juvenile welfare department. In 1991, 24,966 donors contributed voluntarily to benefit the county's juvenile department with $199,000 unexpected funds.
When you serve on a jury in Baltimore City or any of the counties, court officials could have receipts available for donations of jurors' $10 daily wage to the Childrens Advocacy or to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board fund. Marylanders are
generous when they have the option.
The Puppy Protection Act
Editor: I am writing in response to Sara Engram's Feb. 2 Perspective column, "Puppy Mills Breed a Problem." In the column Ms. Engram complains that the Puppy Protection Act I have proposed would subject small breeders to unreasonable liability.
There is no doubt that the bill I have introduced is tough. The legislative process should begin with inclusive definitions and strong penalties. As the bill moves through the committee and House, I fully expect changes and improvements. I have met with the American Kennel Club, individual breeding clubs, pet dealers and shop owners, humane societies, veterinarians and many dog owners. My aim is to more closely define who would be classified as a breeder and whether a licensing procedure based on accepted breeding practices should temper the triple liability provision.
The Puppy Protection Act, as introduced, calls for recovery of veterinary expenses under very limited circumstances for ailments or hereditary breeding problems up to three times a dog's sale price. Most of this veterinary work is already being done.
My bill addresses a fairness issue: Who should pay the bills -- the innocent consumer or the person who sold the problem? Dogs purchased from pet stores or persons regularly breeding three or more animals would be covered. Ms. Engram's example of a hobbyist who has breed two litters in 17 years certainly would not come under my bill.
Horror stories of dog breeding in this country abound. No one questions the fact that there is a problem. It is my hope that those who care about animals in the industry will establish and enforce breeding standards on their own. My legislation has already focused attention on the issue and stimulated debate. Contrary to Ms. Engram's assertions, this is the way the legislative process should work.
Benjamin L. Cardin.
The writer represents the Third District of Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Editor: I'm not at all surprised that Alan Greenspan can't understand the cause of such a low consumer confidence rate. I don't think anyone who earns over $100,000 a year can really understand.
How would you feel if you currently worked for General Motors, Ames Department Stores or for Caterpillar? Wouldn't your confidence be low?
Many other people have low confidence rates because they lack trust in our elected officials. What are those officials going to to us next? Raise taxes, fire us, furlough us, cut our benefits, make us pay more for our benefits?
Carl L. Smith.