By Eric Ross
If you believe a sex offender remains on the State's registry for life, think again.
News 5 learned by simply filing a petition, offenders can ask a judge to have his or her name removed.
- As it should be!
Marilyn Spittler is upset, and angry after learning her ex-husband and convicted sex offender, _____, filed a petition in Douglas County Court to have his offender status wiped away.
"We need to do something about this law," Spittler said.
Spittler is referring to a Colorado law that allows sex offenders to erase their name from the registry. Her ex-husband was accused of assaulting not one, but two of her daughters back in the 1990's. For their protection and at Spittler's request, we are not releasing their names.
The abuse was alleged to have been going on for 8 years. After one of Spittler's daughters came forward, _____ was arrested and charged with a laundry list of sex crimes.
It's important to note _____ was not convicted on all the sex crimes he was originally charged with committing.
_____ was sentenced to seven years in prison.
He served time in prison through the Colorado Department of Corrections from Aug. 27, 1996 until Nov. 12, 1996.
He was not released on parole.
His sentence was converted by a judge to a community corrections sentence.
After being released from prison, _____ registered as a sex offender.
Now, he wants his name removed.
Spittler says as long as she's living, she'll be fighting to make sure he remains on the list for life.
"His victims have permanent memories and permanent damage," she said. "They can't go petition the court to remove those memories. It's permanent in their lives and it should be permanent in his life as well."
- As long as someone sees themselves as damaged goods, then so shall they be!
Since 2006, more than 2,300 hundred convicted sex offenders were able to remove their name from the registry.
Below are statistics provided to News 5 by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation regarding the number of sex offenders across the state who have successfully removed his/her name from the registry:
- 2006: 152
- 2007: 221
- 2008: 261
- 2009: 314
- 2010: 321
- 2011: 469
- 2012: 508
- 2013: 459
- 2014: 102 through March, 14, 2014
"The overall theory of our criminal justice system is that you do your time, you should be able to move on with life," attorney Christopher Braddock said.
Braddock has helped a handful of sex offenders win their case.
"I think you have to look at if they (the offender) has done their time, you have to consider how much time is enough," Braddock said.
Susan Walker, executive director for Coalition For Sexual Offense Restoration, an advocacy group for sex offenders, says the public doesn't understand the life-long harmful effects this list creates.
"People are kept from housing and jobs," she said. "They are sometimes persecuted."
The registry removal law was created as a second chance opportunity, rewarding those who have served their time and haven't re-offended.
Laws like this are fairly common.
Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri are just a few states that allow offenders to get off the registry.
However, Spittler refuses to be sympathetic with offenders, especially ones who prey on children.
While _____ hasn't been in trouble with the law since serving his time, Spittler believes he is still a risk.
"This particular offender works in an industry where he needs access to buildings," she said. "If you remove him from the list, there's nothing stopping him from applying for computer and technology installation contracts at schools, civic centers or daycares."
Sex offenders convicted of molesting children can no longer petition the courts to have his or her name removed. In _____'s case, he's eligible to appeal his registry requirement since his conviction took place two years before that law was changed.
There was legislation drafted last year to make it harder for offenders to remove their names. That ultimately failed due to a discrepancy. It was not reintroduced this legislative session.
_____'s case will be reviewed on April 10.
A judge will likely decide at that time whether to allow _____'s name to be removed.
Calls placed to _____ for comment were not returned.