One Northern Kentucky University student is getting national attention on CBS’ “The Early Show” for her work in trying to change Ohio’s Sex Offenders’ law, which requires those convicted of sex crimes to live at least 1,000 feet away from a school.
When Salmon P. Chase College of Law student and mother of three Margie Slagle thought of sex offenders, she thinks of those who have hurt and molested children. However, when she took on the case of 33-year-old Edward “Dion” Burge she began to think differently.
Slagle retold his story on “The Early Show” March 7 with Tracy Smith, one of the show’s national correspondent.
“As a mom, I was terrified of sex offenders,” she said when interviewed for the show. “Because ,to me, sex offenders means child molesters.”
According to Slagle, Smith came down to Cincinnati to film the segment. Slagle said she was surprised that CBS was willing to educate the public on what constitutes a sex offender.
“I wasn’t certain on how the public would receive it,” Slagle said. “As a mother, I feel anyone who molests a child should receive a lengthy prison term.”
Slagle was chosen out of eight other Chase Law School students and said she thinks she was chosen for this segment because she is a parent and was able to see the difference between a child molester and a sex offender. She realized that “they shouldn’t be lumped together.”
“I never thought my case would get national attention since it’s a sensitive issue,” she said.
Slagle was assigned Burge’s case as a part of Chase’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, where she acted as his lawyer under the supervision of professional attorneys.
“Margie just blossomed and had a lot of questions,” said Katie Hansian of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. “She had a compelling change. She did the most dynamic change and took up for the clinic.”
In Slagle’s case, Burge, then 24, met an 18-year-old female who lived in the same apartment building as he did. The victim later filed a lawsuit against Burge claiming he raped her. Burge said he was innocent, saying it was consensual. However, he was later convicted. Burge was then required to move from his location to a new one, since he had been living near a school.
“He (Burge) had to move out of his house with his children and their mother,” Slagle said. “He moved to his current location because of no close-by schools.”
However, according to Slagle, Burge is now being forced to move again for the third time because his house is near a school field, even though there is a river coming in-between his house and the school.
“A lot of people are getting hurt by this law,” Slagle said. “People are being unfairly punished for consensual relations when they were younger.”