By Heather Hope
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma mother is now pushing to make a change with the state's Sex Offender Registry. She says the pictures on the website are so old you can't recognize the people who could be a danger in your neighborhood. Now lawmakers are getting involved.
The bill is basically the same as the current Sex Offenders Registration Act. The only change is instead saying law enforcement "may" take a photo each time, it says they "shall".
"It started when I was 9 and half almost 10 and lasted until I was 12," said bill supporter, Chantal Morris.
Morris says she'll always remember how her ex-stepfather and his nephew sexually abused her and her brothers. Now a PTA mom of two, she says she still checks the Sex Offender Registry to make sure her two abusers aren't living anywhere near her. And she noticed their pictures are 10 years old.
"I'm not going to forget their face ever, but for someone who's looking on their website looking at their photo, they may not see the red flags or anything," Morris said.
Morris brought up the issue to Sen. David Holt, who wrote Senate Bill 1444, requiring that sex offenders take a current photo every single time they have to register.
"Some of these people are on that list for life, so you could have a 50-year-old photo, and the law is very clear that they only may take a photo," said Holt.
Attorney David Slane, who represents many sex offenders, thinks the law would be a waste of resources.
"And when you take and have about 5,000 people now that you're going to take they're pictures every three to six months to a year, you don't think that's going to take time. I bet you if you ask law enforcement, they'll tell you that it is going to take time," said Slane.
"If the pictures are updated yearly, then every year, you have a potential to save a child from abuse," Morris said.
The bill would require sex offenders take a new photo either every three to six or 12 months, based on their offense level. The bill passed out of the "public safety" committee last week, and is moving on to be heard on the Senate floor.
Monday, February 10, 2014
OK - New Bill Requires Updated Photos For Sex Offenders