I am the Executive Director of USA FAIR, an organization advocating for evidence-based sex offender laws.
Shana Rowan's Bio:
USA FAIR is a nonprofit, national organization formed by family members of people required to register as sex offenders. In addition to shining a light on the collateral damage imposed on innocent family members - mainly women and children - USA FAIR advocates for evidence-based sex offender laws and an effective sex offender registry.
In the two decades since the passage of Megan's Law, policy researchers and treatment professionals have worked tirelessly to study the effects of sex offender laws in the United States. Despite severely restrictive policies targeting those on the registry, there has been no reduction in sex offender recidivism since implentation of the registry. The emotional public and political response to heinous, high profile sex crimes against children has created a well-intentioned but disastrous web of laws that fail to address true dangers and make it impossible for former offenders and their families to lead productive lives.
Being an outspoken face of this cause has ruffled quite a few feathers. There are numerous defamatory websites and blogs out there by anonymous individuals attempting to distort my goals, fabricate stories about my fiancee or I, and scare me into submission. I genuinely feel sorry for these people as I can only imagine how empty their lives must be. They may never know what it feels like to love someone so much that all the hatred in the world can't stop them from fighting for their loved one, as well as the millions of other women and children who are suffering in silence.
My Story, via Wordpress
You may be here because you read or heard something about me that would lead you to believe I am a terrible person. This page is here to clarify some of the many defamatory claims others have made about me (Shana Rowan,) my fiancee, and my advocacy work.
Here’s what I am:
An open book. I do not use pseudonyms, aliases, or anything else in an attempt to mask my true identity or intentions.
A domestic and sexual violence survivor.
The first born daughter of two selfless, compassionate parents.
The older sister of a very strong young woman.
The fiancee of a registered sex offender, whose crime was committed as a minor, and who saved me from an abusive marriage.
A dog lover, and owner to eight incredible rescued canines.
An advocate for fact-based public policies that focus on the prevention of sexual violence, limit collateral damage to family members of law-abiding former offenders, and overall, the truth.
Someone who empathizes with other survivors and their loved ones, and believes that overcoming abuse is undeniably difficult, but also empowering.
Open to every perspective, and always learning – and dedicated to getting my information directly from the source.
Here’s what I’m NOT (nor have I ever been):
A supporter of laws that would decriminalize sexual abuse of any kind, including lowering the age of consent.
Someone who believes that victims of sexual abuse are automatically doomed to a lifetime of suffering.
Advocating for total abolition of the sex offender registry.
A brief summary of my fiancee’s story:
My fiancee and his half-sister, his victim, are 6 years apart. The abuse he perpetrated began when he was 12 years old, and his sister was 6. It went on over the course of the next 3.5 years or so.
My fiancee’s mother, Melinda Cascio (maiden name Harisch) began emotionally, physically, and sexually abusing her only son (my fiancee) when he was very young. She married Bruce Cascio, his step-father, on his birthday. His half sister was born soon after.
Melinda Cascio admitted to exposing my fiancee to explicit pornography at an early age, and also admitted to spending upwards of $5,000.00 on beastiality and large male genitalia pornography. This was corroborated by Bruce Cascio, who became paralyzed after driving drunk into a traffic barrier in 1987. There are multiple of reports from the Department of Child Protective Services of New York State that confirm abuse was perpetrated by Melinda Cascio on my fiancee. Why these reports were never followed up is a mystery, although it should be noted that Bruce Cascio, owner of Taconic Trucking Inc., often boasts about his alleged ties to the mafia, and his wealth far exceeds what a typical trucking company could possibly bring in.
It has also been confirmed that Melinda Cascio was fully aware of the abuse between my fiancee and his half-sister, but did nothing to stop it and allowed it to continue for years. Melinda Cascio also continued to horrendously abuse my fiancee, up until the day she decided to report him to the police.
Bruce and Melinda Cascio, despite being my fiancee’s accusers, selected and paid for my fiancee’s attorney. Court proceedings were permitted to drag out for nearly two years, between the day my fiancee was arrested in the beginning of his sophomore year of high school, and when he eventually accepted a plea deal days before he turned 18. At the “advice” of his attorney – paid for by his accusers – he turned down a plea deal that would have placed him in a treatment facility until he was 21 with no sex offender registration. Eventually, his attorney “advised” him to accept a plea of 2-6 years in state prison and sex offender registration, the duration of which changed while he was serving his prison sentence. He served four years in prison and 2 years on parole.
Bruce and Melinda Cascio mentioned several times throughout the proceedings that they wanted my fiancee to “burn in hell.” Jeanine Pirro, a right-wing extremist commentater on Fox News, and who has referred to the sex offender registry as “a pedophile map,” was the prosecuting attorney in my fiancee’s case.
My fiancee completed parole successfully, with wonderful commendations from his parole officer. His parole-mandated therapist could not say enough good things about him. Despite numerous obstacles, he maintained employment and housing. In 2010, we moved to central New York.
17 days after we bought our first house, he was arrested for failing to update his address with the local police. He had tried numerous times, but was always told that they were too busy, and between scheduling our closing, appropriating the necessary funds, cleaning out our apartment and moving, both of us forgot about his requirement.
It was this incident – which luckily only resulted in probation rather than prison time – that brought me to the advocacy front. While both of us, especially my fiancee, should have made full compliance our top priority, it also served as a wake-up call regarding the true effectiveness and intentions of sex offender laws. Had my fiancee been sentenced to prison, both of our lives would have been destroyed – and no children would be any safer.
My fiancee is not involved in my advocacy whatsoever. It is a cause I have taken upon myself as his loved one. Neither of us make excuses for his crime, and my fiancee will always have to live with the knowledge that he harmed an innocent member of his family in a terrible way. I can only hope that his victim has been able to move on and life a full life despite her traumatic past.
In December 2010, Melinda Cascio broke the terms of the automatic restraining order in place by the court between my fiancee and the rest of his family by sending him a package. In the package was a bible, some Christmas ornaments from when he was a child, and a letter saying that she “knew she wasn’t always the best mother” and lamented the fact that my fiancee had never tried to contact her (which would have been a violation of the restraining order.) She included her phone numbers and email addresses in hopes that he would respond, but obviously, he never did.
My fiancee is a kind, gentle, sensitive man who wants more than anything to be a better person and provide for us. My goal is to make that a reality for us – and the millions of other family members who share their life with someone on the registry. I do not want anyone – victim or offender – to have to go through this. That is why I fight for laws that prevent crimes and allow everyone involved to heal and move on once justice has been served.
To learn more about me or USA FAIR, please visit any of the following links:
USA FAIR: About me http://www.usafair.org/about_shana_rowan
I Love a Sex Offender blog: http://iloveasexoffender.blogspot.com/
Youtube Videos: http://iloveasexoffender.blogspot.com/
"People Party" http://karenhammons.org/shanarowan/
Google Plus https://plus.google.com/+ShanaRowan/posts
Appearances and Publications:
Shana Rowan's Experience:
Executive Director at USA FAIRNovember 2012 - Present | Washington, DC
Blogger at I Love a Sex OffenderOctober 2011 - November 2012 | nationwide
Shana Rowan's Education:
John Jay High School2000 – 2004
Shana Rowan's Interests & Activities:
Sex offender law reform, pit bull rescue, piano