Saturday, November 17, 2012

UT - Mistaken sex offender

Original Article

See the full video at the link above, the video below is just an intro.

11/16/2012

The sex offender registry is designed to protect you and your family from sexual predators; it's a valuable tool, keeping you informed. But what happens if you end up on that registry, not because you're a sex offender but by mistake.

For Iftikhar Khan, of Pleasant Grove, Utah, it began with a letter from the state of Utah, and immediately, his jaw dropped. “I've been identified as a sex offender by some outside source.” That outside source is the state of Maine.

In late September, Maine authorities were trying to locate a man who committed a sex crime in Houlton in 1989. A person who needs to register as a sex offender and they thought they've found him in Utah. The problem is, Khan was on active duty in Greece at the time. And though their names and birthdays are similar, they are not a perfect match.

So what happened? According to authorities in both Maine and Utah. Maine investigators had found Iftikhar Khan on-line, pulled details like his social security number from Utah's database then forwarded it back to Utah as their missing sex offender. Utah then put khan on its own registry, No questions asked, and only notified him afterwards.

A spokesperson for the Maine attorney general's office, Brenda Kielty, declined to speak on camera but gave details to News 13. She says after hearing from Khan, Utah agreed to suspend his name from the registry, while Maine asked Khan to send his fingerprints to cross-check with the missing sex offender. Khan did, they didn't match and both Maine and Utah then cleared his name, But only after he'd hired lawyers, and was publicly listed as a sex offender for an agonizing four days.

Maine officials acknowledge their role in this case of mistaken identity but insist the same mistake would not have happened in reverse. They say it's their policy to always notify someone in writing before putting their name on the sex offender registry, giving that person a chance to dispute the claims in advance. And, in fact, Utah just changed its policies to do the same to avoid repeating what they told our Utah affiliate, was a very serious error.

His name was up there wrongly and that's concerning, of course. This is the first time anyone working over there on the sex offender registry has heard about that happening. As for Khan, he's glad to be cleared but still angry, and wondering if he's alone in all of this.

Officials in Maine and Utah insist, this is an isolated case and one, both states say, won't happen again.



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