See the video at the link above.
By Lauren Pozen
JEFFERSON CITY - A new bill introduced today would allow some sex offenders to request to be removed from the lifetime sex offender registry.
There are more than 21,000 registered offenders on the registry. Offenders are required to register every 90 days.
A representative from Kimberling City wants to allow some offender to be removed from the registry, based on a three tier system:
The first tier would have the lowest risk sex offenders. These are criminals least likely to re-offend like those convicted of indecent exposure. They would be able to petition a judge to take their name off the list ten years after their conviction.
The second level would be for offenders with intermediate offenses and a moderate risk of committing another sex crime. They could ask a judge to remove their names, but only after 25 years.
The third level would list severe offenders, who would remain on the registry for life. One exception would allow only those adjudicated as juveniles to petition to be removed after 25 years.
Registered sex offender, [name withheld] says if the bill passes, it would be life changing.
"It would change my life. I would not have this burden on me for the rest of my life. I am only 23," he says.
At 17, [name withheld] was charged with statutory rape. He pleaded guilty. a probation violation sent him to prison for two years. Now he is out, but he says it still feels like he is behind bars.
"I am not the same kid that I was when I was 17. I mean yeah, I was bad. I learned a lot, but come on," [name withheld] says.
Every three months, he re-registers as a sex offender.
"I have to go up there, fill out more paperwork. Get my picture taken, retina scan, fingerprints," says [name withheld].
House Bill 462 (PDF) could change that for [name withheld]. He would fall under Tier I.
"The registry can be a small piece of a tool. But, the danger of it is that it does create a false sense of security," says Barbara Brown, executive director with the Child Advocacy Center.
Brown says changing the registry for either crimes against children or adults is a slippery slope.
"If you commit a crime against children that is serious enough to get you on the registry, I see no reason to take your name off at anytime," Brown says.
- I'm sure you'd not be saying that if one of your own children were on the list, and what about all the other criminals who harm children?
As for [name withheld], he would like to see some changes.
"I would like to see everybody with a lesser crime get off. I know several people that are my age and are in the same position I am in," he says.
Representative Phillips says if House Bill 462 passes, there will be no direct cost to the state, federal funding is available for the administrative expenses to remove people from the registry. Massachusetts already has a similar law in place.