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In the course of her research, Skenazy came to believe that American sex offenders were being oppressed by the criminal justice system—that in the name of protecting children, lawmakers had turned hundreds of thousands of people into helpless pariahs while doing next to nothing to make kids safer. “When I was 19, I went to prison for what was supposed to be 6½ years for having a consensual relationship with a high-school–age kid,” he said. He was someone I’d known for a while and was really close to.” After he completed his prison sentence, Baughman said, the state of Virginia refused to let him out.