Unprecedented provides an informative and comprehensive look at the complex issues associated with sexual offending. While in no way whatsoever condoning sexually-offensive behaviors, and while properly acknowledging the distress experienced by those who have been victimized, at the same time, it successfully focuses upon the inherent humanity that still exists amongst many who have improperly crossed such a line. Unprecedented provides a unique, and thoughtful, perspective that should be a must reading for anyone interested in these vitally important public health and criminal justice issues.
— Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
These writers are SEX OFFENDERS. What a horrible image those words create in many minds. Both John Haralson and Jon Cordeiro have aimed a spotlight toward a dark, misunderstood corner of our social fabric. They successfully fight against segregating a largely misunderstood population. This book offers hope, guidance and understanding to those facing these battles and this condemnation. I do not hesitate to endorse this book. I know these two men. They have publicly and privately given their support to the civil rights work my law firm has undertaken. Together we frequently win battles to correct some of the abuses many sex offenders suffer.
This book lays bare the truth, first by the authors being honest about their own convicted sex offender backgrounds. They are examples of what being a former sex offender means. Contrary to the general public image, their honesty shields against the false claim that most sex offenders are predatory animals who lack the capacity to control their sexual urges, which is what the media often falsely claims. The facts point out that most sex offenders are not uncontrolled predators.
The writers have lived through conviction, family destruction, probation, registration, rehabilitation and many other challenging elements. Life seriously changes when the label “sex offender” is attached. They recognize these issues affect not only the offender but certainly include victims as well as the families of both. The writers share with the reader much helpful information and support it with their personal stories, experiences and opinions. They show first hand how sex offenders deal with the unending problems that they must face in their everyday lives.
My hope is America will learn from this tremendous book and that those carrying the sex offender label, or those who deal with sex offender issues, use this work as a roadmap to find a path through these uncharted roads. One may not find all the answers here, but those branded as sex offenders, as well as all others affected, will certainly find this book a wise investment.
— Bill Habern
Attorney at Law
I highly recommend Unprecedented. It is a good read, and not only confronts the numerous unhelpful laws which are causing more harm than their intended prevention and security, but also gives helpful input on how a person in need can assist himself/herself in prevention from harming someone and causing their life to go into disarray.
John Haralson and Jon Cordeiro came into my life shortly after my move to Oklahoma in 2007. It was refreshing to hear of two persons who had successfully rebuilt their lives after serious abuse issues and learn of the excellent work they are accomplishing in giving people a place of hope and be a part of their recovery. As someone who also has made that long journey of recovery, I related to them and empathized with their mission and passion.
Those of us involved in advocacy and criminal justice reform have been appalled at the impact the sex offender legislation is having in preventing a person from having a positive playing field and climate to developing a new life. Recovery from serious sexual deviancy behavior is very hard and takes considerable diligence to obtain. Media hysteria built on poorly considered legislation from inaccurate facts makes a positive life nearly impossible. John and Jon pinpoint the difficulties of the sex offender returning to society from lengthy knowledge of assisting others, and their own experiences.
Most causes make progress when those who are impacted the most take a stand and express the difficulties in their lives, and tell about how they became better. It puts a face on that flaw in their life and shows how change can occur. Many in the public can relate from their own life, or someone they know — family or friend. However, in the field of sex offender and sex abuse prevention, there has been a tendency to keep the former offender in the background, fearing it causes too much emotion and negativity, to bring them to the discussion table.
Yet, they are the most impacted with the present status today. They and their families, and even those who have been victimized when it involves a family member or friend. John and Jon show in their extensive breakdown of the entire issue of sex abuse, falsely accused, accusations that should not be criminal at all, and those who truly had serious issues and are ready to turn their life around, that the person who offended can and should be in the focal point of the discussion. There may be venues where this message can’t be heard well — such as a short television or radio sound byte. But in a book with the topic thoroughly broken down, their message is loud and clear with needed toughness, compassion and redemption.
Nothing is more frustrating in this work for me, in over 20 years in seeking change and a more positive way to approach prevention of sexual issues, is hearing “experts” put there by the typical “sex offender industrial complex” who think they are authorities, stating what fits their needs — whether that be a popularity-driven politician or a ratings-driven media person, and others on the fringe, when the true story of recovery can best be told by those who have been there and gone the distance with those people. As you move forward in seeking to understand what makes people sexually act out, how they come to recovery, what is successful, who can be trusted the most in criminal justice, can we believe fabricated stories, should we be afraid of the word “sex offender,” give this book a read. It will be well worth your time.
— Wayne Bowers, President
Sex Abuse Treatment Alliance
Unprecedented addresses a subject most people consider taboo. The authors’ research and personal experiences shed a much-needed light on a segment of society that is persecuted and harassed through a system that leads society to believe the lie that sex offenders are unredeemable. Unprecedented brings hope to the hopeless and raises questions that cause the reader to want to get involved in changing the "system."
This is not a book I would have ever considered reading before I met Jon Cordeiro at a COPE conference in 2001. In prison ministry, it’s not polite to ask ex-offenders “what did you do?” so I never asked Jon about his past. Fast forward three years; Jon and his wife moved to Texas responding to a call from God. They spent their first night in Texas in our home and became our friends.
A few weeks later, Jon shared his story with me; I found myself in shock…how could my friend, this man who radiates the love of Jesus, has a great relationship with his wife and loves Jesus with all his heart and soul be the devil in skin? Where were his horns, his tail? The man before me was NOT the man he said he’d been. It wasn’t possible. No way!
I still struggle with the fact that Jesus forgives ALL sin; but I can’t find anywhere in my Bible that all sins are forgiven except sex offenses. I can’t find a list that ranks the severity of sins either. In fact, the Bible says the opposite is true; ALL (any) sin separates us from the love of God.
Jon introduced me to John Haralson who helped me prepare for an International COPE conference. John joyfully assisted with administrative work and attended the entire conference doing whatever needed done. Periodically I remembered that he, too, was “one of those people” but the head knowledge did not jive with the humble and willing servant working with me. God was messing with my theology. God used both authors to change my heart; I believe they will change others’ hearts as well through this book. I trust these men wholeheartedly and believe in them and their commitment to help others live free of sexual sin and influence America for good through Unprecedented.
— Fauhn Schierer
COPE — Coalition of Prison Evangelists
John B. Haralson and Jon R. Cordeiro have set pen to paper to address a highly stigmatized issue in our society, that of "sex offense." Sex offenders are the modern day lepers. Sex offense is a vague and in many ways deceptive term that has been used to strike fear in the hearts of people today. The authors speak from their personal pain and from their professional experience related to what is a very scary subject to many. They have demonstrated a great deal of bravery in writing such a book that hopefully will explode a number of myths surrounding the subject of sex offense. This book is overdue and much needed in our society today.
— Joseph Williams, President
Christian Association for Prison Aftercare
My spirit tells me this collaboration between John and Jon will change the face of our nation. It needs changing. In my own ministry, I’ve been working with sex offenders (SO’s) and former sex offenders for twenty-three years. My exposure has shown me the heart of many SO’s, witnessed the struggles and fears as they earn their way back into society and watched in horror as the laws and media have continually moved toward senseless laws and conclusions. Myths are being promoted as truth. Politicians, usually unchallenged, enact new lawswithout regard to the full consequences. It concerns me that fear and erroneous “facts” cloud the issues that affect so many people, including many innocent family members.
This book’s goal is to provide balance to SO issues through deep research, interviews and reflection from two former SO’s. Unprecedented presents a valuable guide through the mysteries and processes of how the system works, compiles valuable research and offers hope to both SO’s and their families plus victims and their families. One key goal of both authors is to prevent any more offenses. This is not about being soft on SO’s. Punishment and accountability must be part of the process. However, our nation is in trouble if retribution becomes the whole answer. The majority of SO’s and other former felons will eventually rejoin society. If we make it so hostile and virtually impossible to live and work in a safe and reasonable manner, then we create a growing base of hopeless people.
Both authors put their lifestyle where their mouth is — they both serve full-time in reaching out to SO’s and put their time, moneyand life on the line. This book should be in the hands of anybody impacted by the issues — from politicians and pastors to hurting families, from parole officers and police to legislators and finally should be studied by any concerned citizen. This book represents thousands of hours of research and writing, but it’s also infused with years of experience and wisdom. Take a journey inside — you won’t regret it!
— Reverend John Leonardson
Insightful and informative, Unprecedented serves as a wealth of statistical, educational, and thought-provoking material. A real eye opener.
— Mary Sue Molnar
Texas Voices for Reason and Justice