Huntsville is home to North Alabama's only treatment program for sex offenders. The question is does the program work? And how often does it work for convicted offenders?
For 24 months, offenders are required to attend the program weekly. Their only week off out of each year is Christmas. Attendance, leaders say, is the most important aspect of the program.
One of the class's participants, a convicted sex offender accused of molesting his own daughter, talked to the WAFF 48 News Investigators. He didn't want his name revealed, so we'll call him John.
John admits he molested his own daughter over the course of six years. How could he do such a thing? He blames pornography, for the most part. "I believe that was the seed that started the whole process was with the pornography. I was trying to fill my own sexual desires."
Those desires, John says are different today than they once were. "Ino longer have the desires I used to have. I don't put myself in the situation to have those desires. I know where my errors were, I know where my danger zones are." Concepts John says he's learned, thanks to a class for offenders like him, led by Dr. Frankie Preston. Preston explains, "I t's amazing at some of the disclosures that this population will actually make. And it's through the disclosures that they often times experience discoveries about themselves and their circumstances that are extremely significant in re-offense prevention."
We asked Dr. Preston how often the program really works and does it keep offender's from re-offending? "Ithink it works in some cases. In other cases it probably doesn't," he says. In John's case the class seemed to work. He drove 120 miles each week, completing the program and changing his whole mind-set. "T oday it repulses me, it makes me sick to my stomach to think what I've done."
While he admits taking his daughter's innocence, "Ifailed her, I failed her in a big way," thanks to one class and the man who teaches it, perhaps the innocence of another is saved. "I should've had this class a long time ago," John says.
In addition to offenders attending the group treatment program, they're also required through the program to attend sex addicts anonymous sessions.