Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sex offender's case may affect fate of Utah Web registry

Sex offender's case may affect fate of Web registry

By Geoffrey Fattah
Deseret Morning News
Published: April 3, 2008
A convicted sex offender says the Utah Sex Offender Registry violates his due process rights and if the Utah Supreme Court agrees with him, the state's highest court could strike down the policies governing the registry as unconstitutional.

Supreme Court justices heard arguments Wednesday in a key case that could hold sway over the fate of a registry that the public can use to access information, such as names and addresses, of thousands of convicted sex offenders over the Internet.

The case involves Steven Arthur Briggs, who was convicted of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in 1986 and sentenced to serve 15 years in prison. Before being released from prison in 2002, Briggs was told by prison staff that he had to fill out paperwork to register as a sex offender. Despite being told that it was the law, Briggs refused to sign the paperwork, which included telling prison officials where he would be living.

"You'll have to file charges against me, if you can find me," Briggs was quoted in court documents as telling prison officials.

Briggs was later charged with failing to register as a sex offender between 2003 and 2005. The court sentenced Briggs to two consecutive years in jail with all but 61 days credit for time served. Briggs appealed and argues that the Utah Sex Offender Registry stigmatizes all sex offenders as sexual predators, even those who have no history of repeat offenses. People on the registry are then subjected to public ridicule and humiliation, even after they have fully served their sentence and fulfilled their debt to society.

During oral arguments, Briggs' attorney, Lori Seppi, told justices the sex offender registry lumps all sex offenders in the same category and implies that they are all predators. This includes a 17-year-old male convicted of having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend as well as others with no history of repeat abuse. This information is then published on the Internet without giving the person a chance to argue before a judge that they are not a danger to the community.

Seppi said this violates the Constitution's guaranteed right to due process, adding if these people are going to be held out for public shame, they have a right to challenge it in court and prove that they are not a danger.

Justice Michael Wilkins asked if it's true that the sex offender is a predator, shouldn't he or she be on the registry?

Seppi said she was not arguing that everyone should be taken off and said some people should be on the registry as dangerous, but she argued Utah's laws do not make a distinction.

Chief Justice Christine Durham said she was troubled by this. She noted that children who send cell phone pictures of themselves nude to each other or children charged with acts of lewdness could wind up on the registry alongside adult rapists and violent sex offenders.

Durham suggested that the implication of being on the registry could be far more egregious than the original offense.

Assistant Utah Attorney general Laura Dupaix said all the state does is publish truthful information about sex offenders on the registry, including the crime of which they were convicted. The stigma doesn't come from the state but rather from what the public decides to do with the information, she said.

Dupaix said she would not trust a registered sex offender to be alone with her children, based on their past conduct. The registry gives the community the ability to use the information to make those choices.

Justice Matthew Durrant said he doubted the framers of the Constitution could have anticipated something like the sex offender registry or Internet publication.

Dupaix said the registry is not much different than word circulated about the abuse of a child among colonial townsfolk or of the public humiliation from time spent in the town stockade.

The justices will consider the arguments and issue a written opinion in the coming months.

E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com

Ridiculous | 12:33 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
This is ridiculous, you take your right away to privacy, especially if it is an offense against a minor! Chris | 1:34 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The registry in no way protects the public. It merely serves as extra humiliation on top of these peoples prison sentences. It the equivalent to a giant Scarlet Letter. Do we really want our society to devolve back to the Puritan times? Whatever happened to forgiveness and repentance? Isn't that what our Christian Society is about? Again, as we can see by current event upon current event, we aren't safe. This law doesn't make us safe. Knowing all the past evils your neighbors have committed doesn't make society safe, nor will it ever.

Upon the second offense, the penalty should be life in prison. Then, there is no need for this registry. That is exactly what are prisons are built for, to lock away those who are deemed a threat to society.

Change our laws to execute all 1st degree murderers and repeat sex offenders and none of this silly drug induced needle in your arm. It's a rope around your neck, 10,000 volts or an ounce of lead, they choose.

Stop this crazed, self-righteous act of humiliation guised under the banner of protection of our children. Whom has it protected? Certainly not those victims we mourn for today. Rick | 3:14 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
A sex offender receives their sentence and they serve out the mandated actions of the court. Period! They complete their sentence and all the stipulations that went with that sentence. Period, end of punitive punishment requirements! Now, let them integrate into society and attempt to be a productive citizen. I'm not saying for it to be removed from their record, but, the crime should be removed from public view and background checks, they should not have any more restrictions, shaming, banishment, etc. except if such actions were deemed by the courts at the time of their conviction. If someone like this commits another sex offender crime, then they should face a lot more severe punishment. The judge and the jury should be the only ones that hand out the appropriate punishment. Putting this information in the hands of JOE PUBLIC is dangerous, crude and only causing more problems in our society than what it is trying to resolve. I agree 100% with this fight and would be more than willing to give this person a job that is fighting this issue. Those that point their finger at a person have three fingers pointing back at themselves.

"The registry in no way protects the public. It merely serves as extra humiliation on top of these peoples prison sentences. It the equivalent to a giant Scarlet Letter. Do we really want our society to devolve back to the Puritan times? Whatever happened to forgiveness and repentance? Isn't that what our Christian Society is about? Again, as we can see by current event upon current event, we aren't safe. This law doesn't make us safe. Knowing all the past evils your neighbors have committed doesn't make society safe, nor will it ever."
"Stop this crazed, self-righteous act of humiliation guised under the banner of protection of our children. Whom has it protected? Certainly not those victims we mourn for today."

But not with the rest!

We can't judge well enough; the idea that we can is as errant as the "One List Fits All" idea that you and I object to. Bob G | 5:56 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Paranoia is running rampant in Utah and the country about sex and human behavior. The registry is unconstitutional and used as a means to persecute unlawfully. The people of Utah are so dumb and ignorant and pathetic its almost sickening. They are paranoid about children on the streets but think nothing of the illegals and drugs in our schools taking education away from american children. Child abuse and sex offenders show up on a daily basis, even in the homes of those suffering the paranoia. The unknown sex offending predator is the one to worry about and some sex crimes do not merit perpetual persecution. Once a person has served their term of incarceration in jail or prison and released they have paid their debt to society. If the debt is not paid then they should remain in jail, otherwise they have the same rights and constitutional protections they are entitled. Persecution is illegal regardless of offense. Laws written by emotion are always bad and do not serve society. We could use the same means of persecution and apply it to religious beliefs or race. The illegals have been using anti persecution laws for decades to avoid deportation. Marzipan | 6:06 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I don't know what Briggs is hoping to accomplish in Utah. Utah county jail has a website WITH PICTURES and names of everyone who has ever been booked there. Apparently, stigmatizing sex offenders just wasn't enough.

I think it does suck for people to be branded for life. On the other hand, why did they go having sex with minors in the first place? Maybe if the public treated them like human beings and limited the discrimination to policing their interactions with minors, there wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of sex offenders driven to suicide by the constant stigma.

Chris, your comment is making my head spin. Forgiveness and repentance in the first paragraph and
inhumane methods of execution in the third. Or are those synonymous in your "Christian Society" (whatever that is)? What the heck? | 6:07 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Criminals have too many rights in this country of ours. You made the choice to have your rights revoked when you commit a criminal act. Our judicial system is so frustrating... djt | 6:27 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
When a person commits a crime, that person surrenders certain rights when the choice is made to commit the crime. Due process does not take away "privacy" rights nor a right to life, liberty (not being in jail), nor the pursuit of happiness. Due process is public acknowledgment of the persons decision to willingly surrender the right by his choice of actions. The law is on the books that if you commit certain crimes, your name will be put on a public list. Choose the crime, be on the list.

Re "change our laws to execute all 1st degree murderers and repeat sex offenders and none of this silly drug induced needle in your arm. It's a rope around your neck, 10,000 volts or an ounce of lead, they choose" I would add millstone around the neck and drowned as an option. cilla | 6:40 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Unfortunately, many sex offenders do repeat their acts. There is no way to know who will repeat until after the damage is done.

The public should have access to the registry. If individuals don't want their names to be made public maybe they should think a little more before they act. Rights are lost when you inflict permanent damage on innocent people.

The registry should remain public information. St Jeremiah | 7:08 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The problem is with the laws on the books that has lead to wrongful convictions. When the accused is released...they still have to register...because they were convicted. They are still regarded as "Sex Offenders" even though they have had their conviction overturned. Putting this information in the public domain without discrimination on the level of degree or circumstances is unjust. I know a co-worker who had served his time, taken therapy and has worked real hard to get his life together. But another employee found his registration on line and made it his business to publish it in the office. This has caused all kinds of headaches for Human Resources who has to feild complaints about have a registered offender in the office from concerned women. They have to be reminded that the employee has not violated any sexual harrassment policies and the employee is doing a real good job. This is not fair to someone trying to get their life back together. HGG | 7:10 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
To DJT...
Persons do not surrender rights when they commit a crime. The constitution has much to say and if you read it, it addresses the protecting rights of the accused. It was motivated by the egregious violation of the rights of accused and convicted by the King of England.
If you note in the article, this victim of the government zeal was convicted of committing a crime in 1986, 10 years prior to the law. There is something in the constitution which says "no ex-post facto law shall be passed". Your obvious attitude is that these laws were made to punish and you would make the punishments harsher. You are insulting the 100,000's who died protecting this counties constitution if you allow this man to be further punished for a crime he committed prior to the law for that punishment.

To Cilla...
Exactly why there should not be a registry. The registry in effect is punitive and in this country we do not punish people for what they might do in the future. In fact we do not punish unless there is 100% proof that a crime has been committed. Anonymous | 7:11 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Obviously Bob has some kind of chip on his narrow shoulders concerning the people of Utah, so his comments go right out the window.
Now, we will never know how many potential victims were unknowingly spared due to the laws that are in place at this time. If just one molester was deterred from repeating, then the laws in place have served a great purpose. Kit | 7:17 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I agree that beanding them as a sex offender for life is very unfortunate but they made the choice and that's part of the consequence. Anyone who sexually assults a child desrves all the branding in the world. It's not being closed minded to protect your children This is different than a scarlet letter because this affects the inoccent children.

Many do repeat the offense. I do think there could be different levels than they currently hav on the registry to show the severity of the crime. And we also could work hard with ourselves to not judge the person but just be cautious of letting our children ever be alone with them. Victims | 7:31 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
How long do victims have to live with what happened? Do they suffer 5, 10, 20 years and then all is well? No, they live with the tragedy the rest of their lives. Their rights have been violated.

If we error in causing a little unjust shame and humiliation to an offender and prevent a second occurence or prevent another from committing a crime, then the law is justified.

One offense is one too many. We should have zero tolerance. To Rick | 7:37 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
There are certain crimes that people commit that do have consequences beyond their judicial punishment. If you steal from the bank, do you get a job as a bank president after you get out of prison? If you molest children, do you get to work in an elementary school? Of course not, so your position that once you serve your sentence, all is forgotten is ludicrous and simplistic. Committing crimes have life long implications and they should. TRO | 7:38 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
It is not the offenders on the registry that society needs to worry about but the many who are not on the registry. The ones who do dutifully register are also, in my opinion, the ones least likely to repeat. Unfortunately, because they do register they are socially stigmatized for the rest of their lives even though they are the most likely, again in my opinion, to return to life as law abiding and productive citizens. Dutchman | 7:40 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
If Utah's law is struck down by the State Supreme Court then what becomes of the Federal Law just recently passed that requires all states to have a sex offenders registry and share the information between states? Sounds to me like this decision is going to get appealed to a higher court no matter what. Pedro | 8:17 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Those of you who think that people who commit sex crimes should be forgotten or left alone after they serve their time are kidding. These people have made choices the same as anyone to get themselves on this list, now they deserve to live with the consequences. We all make our choices in life and we all have to live with them afterwards.
If you can't handle having your name on the public list then don't commit the crime. I completely believe this is just one more way to deter some would be criminals. They may have some thoughts to doing wrong but then realize the possibility of being added to this list and rethink it.
I wish they put out a list of all offenders. Maybe tomorrow we will be looking at the list of home invaders and thieves in your neighborhood. 2nd time | 8:32 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I have to agree with what a lot of you have said... except for the "if they do it a second time". Once was enough. It sounds like it is okay to allow society to wait for a second time for them to REALLY be punished. What if the predator's 2nd offense was your child? Another life being marred is not the answer. Keep those on the registry that hurt children.... I could care less about a 17 year old having sex with a 15 year old. You have no clue who it has saved... it's ridiculous to think that these registries are all for nothing as you cannot make a correct list of "what might have happened in the future and didn't because of the registry". And by-the-way... some of you say they have served their debt to society... how? By sitting in jail reading books and getting to watch TV if they are really good? I want to know if these people have been "rehabilitated" by a professional, and with their expert opinion feels they will no longer harm children. That would be paying just a small portion of their debt. Prosecutor | 8:35 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Both this article and several commenters fail to mention what I found in a 10-second internet search -- that the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that sex offender registries are perfectly legal and constitutional. It seems, then, that the article's author and various commenters must also have forgotten to mention that the case now before the Utah Supreme Court is, therefore, nothing more than a waste of court time and taxpayer's money.

Sex offenders: Don't blame me for your shame. You didn't give me a vote when you decided to offend the first time. Why should I assume you'll do so the next time? Don't expect me to wax indignant at the reasonable consequences of your demonstrated refusal to control your actions. ScottAZ | 8:36 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I think we need to be concerned about the known offenders on the registry AND the unknown ones out there that are not on the registry. Are the known offenders any more trustworthy left to their own devices than the unknown offenders? No. We do what we can and put controls on the offenders we know about. Of course, there is not much we can do about the unknown offender. We are commanded to forgive those who harm us, but that doesn't mean they get our trust back. We need to ask ourselves the question "would I leave my child alone with a sex offender even though they have served their time and gone through counseling?" Butch | 8:36 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I have been taught to forgive and forget. Since I have not been sexually abused, this seems like a very simple statement. But I have worked in counseling those that have been abused. The impact and scars that these people have last more than 10, 15, or even 20 years; they last a lifetime. Shouldn't those who inflicted those wounds also be reminded of what they have done?
Debt to society in one thing, what about the debt to the individual victims. What about the debt to their families, parents, siblings, spouses, children, and even grand children. How do we measure the amount of that debt? Chris | 8:42 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I think people fail to realize that this law isn't about justice and protecting their children, it is in fact about humiliation and trying to 'get even' with the criminals that have committed serious wrong.

I for one know first hand. My sister was victimized and there was nothing more than to want to see him suffer the rest of his life, making sure everyone knew of his acts, his future wife, any employers and neighbors. Yet, ruining these peoples lives for the rest of which they live it is not the Christian way.

If you want real solution, lock people up for 5-life depending on the seriousness of their crime on the first offense. Then if they repeat after getting out, that is when you throw the key away. There will be no third chances. Lock them away for life. I understand society isn't willing to accept execution at this time, but I feel it is just, they have refused to change their ways. It also serves as a deterrent for future offenders. They will fear a noose, a bullet or 10,000 volts. Death by needle is more of an invitation than it is a punishment. Rich | 8:44 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
States – and not just Utah – created sex offender registries because of the high rate of recidivism among sex offenders. That means that sex offenders are more likely to commit another crime. If a person does not re-offend after ten years, the State Department of Corrections removes that person’s name from the registry. That seems reasonable.

As the father of three young daughters, I am very grateful to the state of Utah for giving the public this information. The few times we have learned that we lived near someone on the registry, I didn’t use the information to throw a rock through the person’s window. We used that information to warn our daughters of the potential danger that person posed.

I hope the state Supreme Court has enough common sense to allow the sex offender registry to continue. I also hope the state will fund and manage the registry so that it can continue to be an effective protection for the people of this state. My thoughts | 8:52 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The article mentioned that students sending nude pictures of themselves to each other on their cell phones, who enter the system, as possibly being required to be on the registry.

Do you really think this benefits us as a society, and what a waste of police time, effort, and MONEY. (Talk about needlessly raising taxes!)

Yes, these kids DID THE CRIME, but do they have to be punished for the rest of their lives?

Maybe their needs to be some variation of warnings on the registry list. Todd | 8:53 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
One problem is that people don't even have to be convicted of the crime. A friend of mine had charges dismissed after 2 years of fighting it (his own wife accused him, she suffered from paranoia...). Yet his name must be on the list because he didn't have the charges dismissed before a year was up... Sarkozy | 8:54 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I support Sarkozy's plan to keep all convicted pedophiles (people who molest clearly undeveloped children, not teenagers, doesn't qualify as a pedophile) in mental hospitals until they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are in control of their obsession/addiction.

That would allow people to be set free once they've made honest and good progress towards recovery could they be released.

Look, taking them off the registry in no way allows them to just go work with children. They're still going to have parole officers for preferably a long time, and will still have to register their place of work with the state - as do most offenders for a good few years - it's just that the public doesn't need to see that this exists. ??? | 9:00 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
How many of you have actually been able to meet a person that is on the sex offender list? MOst of you probably havent or maybe you have and you don't even know it. All sex offenders are different, there needs to at least be a way to classify difference between a person that has a history of committing crimes and a person that made a mistake when he was 18 years old. Go to a high school in your area and see how many senior 18 year olds have girl friends that are 16, and how many of them are doing things that would classify them as a sex offender if they got caught. Something needs to be done with the registry it is just setting these 18 year olds up to fail by having to be on these list. Try having you address posted so people can come key your car every night, or write note that threaten your life. Tammy | 9:08 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
This is not about taking someone's rights away or giving them the right to privacy - it's meant to protect those around offenders who could become victims. What's the incidence of sex offenders who re-offend? I think it varies, but I've read that it's one of the most difficult things to reform from. How can you protect your family, especially your children, from someone who has done this type of crime and could again easily if you don't know? The registry is designed to protect the public, and yes, some people will use it to stigmatize offenders, but others will use it as a precautionary measure, which I belive is what it was intended for in the first place. Old Colonial Solution | 9:11 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Get rid of the registry and tatoo a big "R" for rapist on their forehead. It might be a good idea to do it before they transfer to prison instead of after they get out, too. Responsible Parent | 9:12 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
More and more, it seems, our society is insisting on removing any consequences or responsibility for our own actions. Murders now have a very good chance of getting away with their crimes if they can come up with a reason (ANY reason) for their actions. Had a bad day? Go ahead and kill someone, you can claim you were 'emotionally distressed', and the jury will let you get away with it. If that doesn't work, then blame someone else... "It's the fault of the manufacturer of the gun I used, and the laxative I was taking."

Our society's children have a right to be protected. Waiting until a second offense is absolutely unacceptable, becuase it just creates thousands of more child victims before anything can be done about the offenders.

The registry list is one of the consequences our society has implemented for a certain set of actions. If you don't want to be on the list, DON'T COMMIT THE CRIME IN THE FIRST PLACE. If you've committed the crime, this is the consequence. YES it's unpleasant; too bad. There are reasons for laws, and consequences when you break them. Dave | 9:16 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
To djt:
"When a person commits a crime, that person surrenders certain rights when the choice is made to commit the crime. Due process does not take away "privacy" rights nor a right to life, liberty (not being in jail), nor the pursuit of happiness. Due process is public acknowledgment of the persons decision to willingly surrender the right by his choice of actions. The law is on the books that if you commit certain crimes, your name will be put on a public list. Choose the crime, be on the list."

There was no such list in 1986. Public hysteria led fear-mongering politicians to subvert ex-post facto. Re: Rich | 9:22 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
States created sex offender registries because of the MYTH of a high rate of recidivism among sex offenders, and also because of the MYTH that the biggest danger to children is the stranger lurking behind the bushes. In actuality, sex offenders, once caught, have one of the lowest reoffense rates of any type of criminal. Also, the greatest threat comes from family members and close family friends. Those are the people you need to be most concerned about. ??? | 9:23 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
How about the guy that was convicted of a crime in California that didnt require him to register as a sex offender, then when he came to Utah and they made him register?? Darin M | 9:25 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
To Prosecutor,

It may be true that sex offender registries (which exist in most states) have been deemed constitutional. But that doesn't make them right. Let's be really honest about it. We don't have registries for thieves and drunk drivers - offenders who live among us, whom we might want to watch to keep ourselves safe. But we only have one for sex offenders because sex titillates, drunk drivers don't.

Chris and Rick state the problem well. The registry helps no one. The public only abuses it by putting released offenders at a great disadvantage. This is completely contrary to the principle that once you've done your time, you deserve a fair shake. The registry is nothing more than a forum for voyeurism.

This is not only Utah's problem. This country really cannot shake Puritanism. I have howled for years in this forum that the registry is today's Scarlet Letter. I'm glad to finally see some like-minded people. The Utah Supreme Court has a great opportunity to set a precedent in the US by striking down the whole registry for the violation that it is. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Anonymous | 9:30 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
For those of you who are argueing agasinst the registry you have no clue in the world what you are talking about. First of all I work every day with sex offenders. They go through there treatment and the thier programs and we still catch them with pictures of children and doing things that I won't even mention. Second off, you say they have rights, so do the victims and the potential victims. Atleast 4 people in my family have been molested. All 4 have had serious problems. One family member of mine was raped an estimated 40-50 times before the age of 10. Child molestors are sick perverts. It is a mental illness, and there is no cure. Some do manage to control it through fear of going to back to prison, but it is a small percentage. Third point is this, if you are not firmiliar with the sex offender laws in Utah, go look them up. Minors charged with a misdemeanor for trading nude pictures will not be on the registry. And 17 year olds who have sex with a 15 year will not either. Before you start spouting laws off, go and look them up. Anonymous | 9:34 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
There is someone on the list who commited a sex crime against his daughter in about 1982 who is still on the registry. He has kept his nose clean and stayed out of trouble. However in 1994/5 after his girlfriend gave birth to their second child she was told that she had to move out because he was a sex offender. He did continue to have unsupervised visits with his children without any problems.

There is another person who was accused in or about 1990 - was never charged but today this person's children are now being told that if they have any contact at all including email, with the relative they will lose their children. The relative lives out of state. This is a case of a person being punished for a crime that they never were charged with and never commited. Is this fair - no it isn't especially for the kids who are now adults and able to make up their own minds. Tim P | 9:35 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
You can be on the sex offender registry for being drunk and releaving yourself in public. My point is that not all the people on the sex offender registry on it for crimes against childern. The US Dept. of Justice says that sex offenders are one of the lowest groups of criminals to re-offend. Only 3.5% of them are reconvicted of a sex crime within 3 years of release from prison. The USDJ also says that over 90% of sex assaults are commited by a person well known and trusted by the victim and in over 50% of the cases it is a family member. Over 95% of those arrested for sexual assault have no prior arrest record of any type. WE DO need sex offender registrys but the law should requier all KNONW SEX offenders to be tested at the sex offenders cost, to see how likely they are to re-offend, and then post on a public registry those at the most risk to re-offend. Crystal | 9:38 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I use the sex offender registry to see who is in my neighborhood. I do not cause them any upset or harm but am more aware to be on guard in certain situations because of the registry. I appreciate the ability to have such a device. Although this doesn't afford me any protection it allows me to know who is an offender, even in my own church, so that I can protect the children under my care more carefully. I do not use it to abuse anyone. Repeat offenders or even first time offenders have given up their rights when they choose to indulge in this behavior. Sometimes our decisions have long lasting results and we just have to live with them. I like this case | 9:39 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
because it draws away from the real dangerous ones and those are the ones not caught yet! Oren | 9:41 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Everyone has an opinion. But, no one offers any concrete facts.

They abused once, what is the rate of recitivism?

How many time did they abuse before they were caught?

How many started as juveniles?

How many people on the registry fit in the description you are using in the examples? Probably none if any.

How about the rights of victims? Which comes first the perp or the victim?

Facts, people, facts not unsubstantiated opinion after opinion. Anonymous | 9:42 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Trust me Tim they would fake their way through the test. I have seen it many times. They fake their way through the treatment. Tim P | 9:42 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I have also worked with sex offenders and victims for over 25 years and I take issue with what anonymous posted. In fact the statement that 4 people in the family were molested, would lead me to think that in fact this was a family member that did the crime. And it is a mental illness but with treatment a good percent of even the high risk offenders will not re-offend. And the statement that the percentage is small that control it after arrest does not match what the Dept. Of Justice has found. And as for Utah sex offender laws check the Adam Walsh act that will change who is on the sex offender registry by adding many more of those young adults the writer said are not on the registry now. first | 9:43 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Anonymous how have you been working with them? i dont think you have. I have gone through the therapy that the state requires and more for my own protection and to make sure i dont do it again. I have been around alot therapists that work with offenders everyday and by the way you talk and give offenders no hope you shouldn't be working with sex offenders. Your the type of people that make people trying to change not be able to fully recover from there peoblems Rika | 9:44 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
"Both this article and several commenters fail to mention what I found in a 10-second internet search -- that the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that sex offender registries are perfectly legal and constitutional."

Prosecutor: Invest more than 10 seconds, read the actual rulings, and you'll understand why Utah's ruling could go AGAINST the registry yet still AGREE with past SCOTUS rulings. The Alaska law required nothing more than mailing in a form once a year to confirm the offender's address. The Court was quite specific about that, intimating in-person confirmation requirements would indeed be deemed an infringement. Since offenders are now required to appear in person perhaps numerous times a year within numerous jurisdictions, appear at home at the bidding of law enforcement for "compliance checks," plan housing and travel around buffer zones, etc., it's quite basic logic to say today's laws are different than the laws just a handful of years ago.

See how much you can learn when investing more than ten seconds? Prosecutor | 9:47 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Sorry Todd -- you're mistaken. Or worse.

Utah Code, Section 77-27-21.5 requires conviction of one or more of the enumerated sex crimes for the sex offender registry requirement to kick in. Your "friend" is not on the sex offender registry because it took too long to clear his name.

Not sure what your (or his) agenda is, but I can't permit the misinformation to go unchallenged. ??? | 9:47 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
To Tim P.
Thanks for you comment to Anonymous! I totally agree with you! I have gone through the therapy and a person that says they work with sex offenders wouldnt be workign with them if they didnt have hope they would be able to recover. People can over come this just like people can overcome drug abuse! unknown | 9:48 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
i was raped when i was younger and today could not tell you what the guy looked like after how can you expect to forget if you go to a clinic every week or offtener to be reminded of it ithink the law is all right but needs modefide so teen who have sex with the one both want to with and other things that are not realy abuse to start with not be on the list Anonymous | 9:50 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I would think the challenge would be more effective arguing against the "double jeapardy" this creates, rather than "due process".

That a person was convicted of an offense shows that due process has taken place. The problem is not that publishing their information does not follow due process. The problem is that publishing their information constitutes a repeat punishment for the same crime. Anonymous | 9:55 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
People who have been "Invaded" by Feds for having mistakenly downloaded "Child Images" from Out Of Country PORN Sites like "LimeWire" have been convicted of "Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor" and are put on the List! They accidentally downloaded "Supposed Images" of Minors which are Questionable AT BEST and are convicted of FELONIES! Men & Women who have been convicted of Molesting Children without any shred of evidence other than "He Said, She Said" who could quite possibly be INNOCENT are ON THE LIST! The Public MUST BE PROTECTED BY GUILTY SEX PREDATORS, however, so many lives are RUINED because much of the public and the D.A.'s office is on a "WITCH HUNT"! Those who "Check The List" I say, "Buyer Be Ware!" It's not all it's cracked up to be my friends! Sadly 2 out of every 3 households in Utah access PORN on the internet, so should we not let our children go to anyone's home in all reality for safety reasons? FACT: Anyone committing Adultry is guilty of a sex crime! Anyone having same sex-sex, is guilty of "Sodomy" technically, so shouldn't they all be on the "Sex Offender List Too"?

Guess Again Tim. | 9:56 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
One was the mothers druged out boyfriend, One was a neighbor, one was a young women's leader and the third was a Uncle who lived out of state Tim P | 10:03 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
As to double jeapardy, the US Sup. Court ruled that sex offender registrys were not double jeapardy in the case of Smith VS Alaska. The court went on to say because these sex offender registrys do not limit were a offender can live or work and are just used as a form of public awairness. Well we all know that many states and citys have now limited were sex offender can live and work. The Sup. Court will have to rule on that now. I say again check the US Dept. of Justice who keeps records on this sex offenders have a low rate of recidivism. I say we do need sex offender registrys but only after ALL KNOWN SEX OFFENDERS ARE TESTED, at the offenders cost, to see who are the most likely to reoffend, and then psot only those at risk to reoffend on a public sex offender registry. Testing is complete but I am not saying it can not be wrong. But with the low recidivism rate and the fact that over 90% of sexual assaults are commited by a person well known and trusted by the victim with over 50% of them a family member. TEST Emile | 10:28 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I have a right to know who the child predators are in my area. Evidence and circumstances have proven that the likelihood of a convicted sex offender changing is not likely to happen. It is the same as putting a P on the door for plague.
Comments continue below
Prosecutor | 10:39 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Rika -- I do see! Having read the article, I see that, "[Briggs attorney, Lori] Seppi said she was not arguing that everyone should be taken off and said some people should be on the registry as dangerous, but she argued Utah's laws do not make a distinction."

I also see that the appellant's argument apparently has nothing to do with the issues you mention, but relies, rather, on the tired old "irrebuttable presumption" saw.

The one the U.S. Supreme Court didn't buy in 2003. ok Tim | 10:52 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I woll agree on a few points. You seem knowledgeable on the testing so I will take your word for it. I am an Officer at the prison, so I have a little pessimism. I catch offenders who have gone through the treatment and they are still doing sick stuff. We definitely need a list though. We as a society tend to forget both sides have rights. The victims and the potential victims need to be protected. It scares me cause these guys don't wear a shirt or have a tatoo saying I like children. They look, talk and act normal. We need to protect our children somehow. And this is a tool to help. Why scar a child for the rest of their life if we don't have to. Law Abiding Citizen | 10:57 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Absolutely absurd! Breaking the law, stealing another's rights, and then squealing about your consequences as a criminal. Pathetic Mr. Briggs! Actions lead to consequences in all things. None of us get to pick and choose our consequences. Crime leads to revocation of rights. Rights were stolen from an innocent victim. Let's discuss who's right were and still are being violated. Definitely not the sex offenders. Tougher laws need to be instituted against sex offenders and lifetime web registry mandatory. Our communnity deserves safety, peace of mind, and order. Criminals can't define their consequences. Rika | 11:04 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
"The one the U.S. Supreme Court didn't buy in 2003."

That would be from the Connecticut case, wherein the Court stated, "due process does not entitle him to a hearing to establish a fact--that he is not currently dangerous--that is not material under the statute." The Court also made clear the ruling was based upon the procedural, not substantive, component of the 14th. Reading the transcripts indicates there's a good possibility the Court would have gone the other way had Doe included a substantive challenge.

Between the Connecticut and Alaska case, the Court tried to have it both ways: sex offenders are considered dangerous enough to be monitored (Alaska), but not presumed dangerous by the State (Connecticut). The only way the CT ruling stands is by maintaining the fiction the State doesn't presume sex offenders are dangerous individuals.

Keep in mind the Court hasn't held sex offenders are eligible for loss of rights at legislative whim. Instead, the Court ruled there exists no right which is violated by the State's requirement of life-long law enforcement monitoring if a citizen has at any time had contact with the court system. That's why Ohio has a registry of NON-convicted offenders. Facts | 11:05 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
You all need to quit confusing the issues here. This man, at the age of 41, decided to engage in sex with a 9 year old. A NINE YEAR OLD!!! If anyone deserves to be on the sex offender registry it's him. Quit making excuses for criminal acts. It's ludicrous to think that something like that shouldn't be on someone's record forever. The issues of downloading child porn "on accident" and ending up with a criminal record is simply laughable. Accident? C'mon people. Wake up and smell the stink. Don't go down the road, and you won't end up in the trap. If you do, then quit trying to blame others or society for your unfair treatment. Pathetic. Society's biggest problem is an ongoing sense of entitlement and blame, that keeps people from being accountable for thier own actions. Accept responsibility, quit trying to blame others for your failures. A Proposed Change | 11:14 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I understand the need for a registry, especially involving cases of aggravation or minors, but I propose a simple suggestion. If there have been no repeat violations, in say 10 years (just a ballpark number, maybe more, maybe less, and depending on the severity of the crime) and the guilty has paid their debt, remove them from the registry. I believe in forgiveness, and healing and moving on. There are people that kill people in DUI related accidents, and they have no registry. There are convicted 3rd degree murderers on the street on parole, they have no registry. Lets Be Fair | 11:38 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I have to agree that this registration is basically unfair, I unfortunately live on both sides having a family member in prison for committing a sexual crime on one of my grandchildren, and rightly so he is serving his time for doing so. But lets be fair about this registration, if I have the need or right to know about a sexual preditor or one so labeled how about that same right to know about a drug dealer, murder, robber, and the list goes on. A sexual preditor can cause you and or family harm on a one time basis with lasting effects, a drug dealer on the other hand get your kids hooked on something that can continually effect the family for life time and time again. Lets have a registry but require every individual convicted of a felony to register on it, if it is that important to know about sexual preditors then the rest are just as dangerous to our families if not more so. After all do you want a mass-murder living next door who might just go off one night and kill you or a member of your family? Skitter | 11:38 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
They do have a registry. A simple background check. Those people lose rights as well. Remember trust and forgiveness are two diferent things. Re: Skitter | 11:54 a.m. Apr. 3, 2008
A sex offender can also be found by a simple background check. So why not eliminate the registry and anyone who wants to know about their neighbors can get them investigated.

I do agree one hundred percent with Lets Be Fair, especially with the drug dealers, or people convicted of having it in their possession. Re think this whole thing | 12:00 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Since officials, I am thinking of the prosecutor in Davis county, have demonstrated that they can't be counted on to exercise common sense, I think we need to re-think the registry, until we can better define who is at risk for being put on it. Where is Common Sense? | 12:00 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
There is one person I read about in the newspaper that was 18 years old, had sex with a 17 year old girl [I had thought that there needed to be a 4 year difference] and as a result is on the registry.

If officials are unwilling to use common sense there should be no registry.

Also what about the case of the youths in Davis County? What is going on? Is common sense to much to ask from our civil servants? kate | 12:34 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
If these people don't want to be on the registry, then they shouldn't commit the crime! Authorities obviously believe that these offenders pose a danger to the community, and that the public quite rightly, deserves to be warned. In the case of teenagers having sex with a minor, they too know the law. If they choose to break that law, then they can't complain about being on the registry. what about other registries? | 12:35 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I'm not a sex offender but it does seem kind of unfair to have this information published on the Internet, although it could be useful in some situations. So why doens't the Gov't just go ahead and create one big huge registry of all crime convictions including misdemeanors and traffic tickets that we can use to look up this stuff and "protect ourselves"? I mean, if my neighbor is a habitual speeder then I want to know about it so I can protect myself when I'm out driving. Been There Done That | 1:15 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I want to speak on behalf of someone who was abused. I am now an adult, but it has taken me many, many years to deal with what happened to me as a child. I personally have forgiven my rapist (child molester) but that was a choice I made as part of my healing.
My abuser is on the register list. Even though I have forgiven him he should still be there. Everyone should know what he is capable of. Just because he spent time in prison doesn't mean he shouldn't be accountable forever for what he did. I certainly wouldn't want my child to be the 2nd victim. Enough is enough. If you commit the crime, you should pay the price. Even if that is having a scarlet letter. Must include variations | 1:23 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I believe the Registry has some merit, especially to inform the public of severe offenders. But what about the individual who was accused, was not guilty, but chose to accept a plea bargain instead of risking being convicted of a crime not committed, but difficult to prove innocence of? My husband is in this situation, served 6 months in jail for doing nothing, and is on the registry for at least 15 years. The Registry can be a tool to inform people of questionable neighborhood or job situations. But the Registry is very lacking in differentiating between the severe offenders who rape children, and offenders who have committed much lesser offenses (or no offenses in our case). All are lumped into the same basket. We read of a person who browsed the Registry and when someone dared to move into their neighborhood who was on the registry, this do-gooder passed out flyers announcing the new neighbor's crime, forcing that person to move. That is a violation of the law, which you can read when you enter the Registry. It is not to be used as a tool to harass someone. No everyone on that Registry actually committed a crime. Variations, cont. | 1:32 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
In addition to being on the Registry, an offender who is on probation, as my husband is, has to pay money to Adult Probation and Parole every month, as well as $100 a year to the State for the "privilege" of being on the Registry. He also has to have a travel permit to do his job, as it takes him to a neighboring state on a weekly basis. He has to report to his PO once a month. He has to renew his driver's license every year. He attends court-ordered counseling weekly, which costs us $100 a week for the next 2 or 3 years. He is paying a fine and restitution. All visits with grandchildren have to be supervised. Even using a public restroom is supervised. So there are many ways sex offenders are kept track of, besides the Registry. This is very hard for us financially in our senior years, especially because no crime of any kind was ever committed. But try to defend that! It is virtually impossible to prove yourself innocent when a child makes a claim, even though there was no evidence of any kind. In fact, there were witnesses to the contrary. Jim | 1:37 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Most people are very emotional about this issue and rightly so. Children should be protected. The problem is that these laws have been made based on emotion, not facts and evidence. A lot of opinions voiced here are based on emotion not fact. Good laws are made based on sound research and evidence, not emotions. The SOR labels many people who are not dangerous predators as such. (Does anyone actually think there are 600,000 dangerous predators lose in this country? If there are, none of us are safe any where.)This in turn causes them to be harassed, face restricted living and employment opportunities, and be ostracized. That leads to destabalization which can lead to more offenses. Instead of providing a safer place for children, the SOR may be doing more harm than good. The original intent of the SOR was to provide protection from dangerous predators and was for law enforcement use only. We need to return to the original intent if we want our children to actually be safer. Graded Approach | 1:37 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Is a graded approach beneficial/needed? Is Utah's one-size fits all correct? Just as there are different degrees of punishement for a crime, should there be differing severity levels for sexual registry? Thoughts? This is a good topic. Made a Mistake | 1:41 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I'm a registered sex offender for an offense I plead guilty to 13 years ago. When I plead guilty, I did so inorder to save my victim from having to re-live it in court. I could have fought the charges against me because there was no evidence. It was her word against mine. By doing that I did take responsibility for my actions. I DID do the time that I was sentenced to. I DID do the therapy, probation, checking in every month and now every year that I was sentenced to at the time of my crime. I have done everything that has been asked of me and more.

When I plead guilty, I was told that I would be off of the registry in 5 years and that if I did everything that I was sentenced to: time in jail, probation, counseling, checking in every year for 5 years that I would beable to have my record expunged in 7 years and be off of the registry.

Sense the date that I plead guilty the laws have been changed and are still changing. The time on the registry went from 5 years to 10 years. Registries for other crimes? | 1:42 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I agree with many comments about the need, or at least the desire, for having registries for convicted drug dealers, murderers who might be on parole, and other similar violent crimes. As bad as sex offenses are, especially against children, I would be more worried about the affects of a drug dealer in my neighborhood, or someone who has committed a very violent crime. There is help to recover from sex offenses, for both the offender and the victim. There is no recovery from being killed by a gang member, or caught in the cross fire of a drug deal gone wrong, if you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn't know it.

Sex offenders who complete their counseling seldom re-offend. There are exceptions, of course. But being labeled through a Registry makes it difficult to get a job, buy a house, and just carry on with daily life. Once an offender has successfully completed treatment, I think he should be removed from the Registry. Of course his information will be available to law enforcement, but would not be made public any longer. Hopelessness can cause many problems for offenders, and victims, too. Made a Mistake | 1:45 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Continued: My right to have my record expunged was taken from me. And now they are or have passed a new law that will make me register for life.

The chance for me to move on with my life and for my family to move on with their lives have been taken from us. ( I know what you are going to say, what about my victims life and how my actions have affected her ) I agree. I can only hope and pray that she has been able to cope and move on with her life.

To say that if you do the crime you should have to do the time. I've done my time and new laws keep being passed that are retroactive, which keep punishing me for the same crime. If they are going to pass new laws they should not be retroactive and should only be for new offenses.

To say that all offenders on the registry are child molesters and it will only be a matter of time before they reoffend is NOT TRUE!! I'm not a child molester, never have been and never will be. But I'm being treated like I am one. Re: Common Sense | 1:58 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
There must be more to the story you describe.

According to the relevant statute (UCA 76-5-401.2) a 17 year-old can have consensual sex with someone as old as 26.

If an 18 year-old went to prison for having sex with a 17 year-old, it's probably because the sex wasn't consensual, it was rape. To JIm | 2:04 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I don't believe ther are 600,000. I think there are more than that. It is not safe anywhere. Read the newspaper. Statistics say one in five children are molested. If the registry can help save these children, I am all for it. Re: Graded Approach | 2:11 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The problem with differing levels of registry is the public view. Once the person is labeled as an offender, it doesnt matter what it was in the public eye, whether it was a child molestation or getting drunking and indecently touching a woman's breast at a bar 10 years ago (my boss is on the registry for that), the public will view it one and the same. Annonymous | 2:22 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The List HAS TIME LIMITS for different offenses, but it isn't very fair in it's "Judgments". There are many Non-Repeat Offenders who will be on the list forever for crimes where they actually DID NOT MOLEST! The List is messed, but in our COMMUNITIES BEST INTEREST and for the sake of the "CHILDREN" it is there. Our Justice System is so screwed up! We have some very good judges, and some very stupid judges, and a D.A.'s office who wastes a good portion of their budget prosecuting on a "Witch Hunt Basis". Fortunately for the D.A., they get a lot of plea bargains because people are trying to avoid prison for things they really haven't done, so they cop deals to get minimal jail time, "Sex Offender Counceling" and Probation instead! Big Brother Just Beating Up Those Who Don't Deserve To Be Beaten Up in a lot of cases, as for the rest, with evidence without ANY DOUBT, Hang them! they do reoffend | 2:22 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Pedophiles are %90 to repeat offend WITH therapy. It may take them more than three years to do it but they do reoffend.
First offense can bring less than 18 months in jail for stealing the innocence n of a child. The registry needs to remain and if you read the info on each person you will see what they were convicted of doing not what they were accused of doing.
To those who think it is harsh... try dealing with the heartache that comes when you or someone you love are sexually assaulted as a child. In many ways rape of a child is the worst offense. Often there is never complete healing. The only crime that can be worse is murder.
Sexual deviants need more (fill in the blank) to continue to satisfy their "needs". I would like to keep my children from satisfying pedophiles known "needs". Ex Post Facto Law | 2:35 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
Could someone help explain Made a Mistakes comments? I fully understand his situation, however, how can the state pass these "retro-active" laws? Doesn't article one of the US Constitution prohibit these laws from being enacted? To Graded Approach | 2:37 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
You have a good idea. I'm not sure how it would be administered, but it is definitely needed. It would separate the truly predatory offenders from the ones who made a mistake, such as the 18 year old who had sex with his 16 year old girlfriend. Our neighbor spent 1 year in jail for doing just that. Sex offenders should not be school teachers (but it seems there are some incidents happening the other way around), Scout Masters, Day care providers, and other obvious situations. But being on the registry causes so many problems for offenders who did not do serious offenses, or did not do ANY offense at all, but couldn't prove it, as in my husband's case. New legislation passed this year in Utah has created even more restrictions for convicted sex offenders. The laws already severely limit where a SO can live and work, or even go out to eat. I have to go wherever my husband goes, except to work, as I am his "supervisor". We can't go to parks, school events, and other similar activities. Can't go to McDonald's (no great loss). But we can't even have a swing set in our yard (cont.) "...consequences.." | 2:39 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
To the many posters here making comments such as "too bad...there are consequences...the offenders should have thought about it before...", may I ask why you think it is fair to single out sex offenders? What the registry means to some degree is that sex offenders get a life sentence. In this country we have generally operated under the principle that once a sentence is complete, the offender has "paid" for the crime - and having paid, he/she deserves a fair chance. Attitudes like "they deserve it" only reinforce that argument that the registry is a bad idea because it is truly punitive.

To argue that sex offenders repeat more than any other criminal category (or that they never recover) is ridiculous - it isn't an argument. Let's not forget that you can land on the registry for urinating in public (especially if children catch sight of this.) A life sentence for this? Schwa | 2:52 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I would much prefer a violent criminals registry to a sex offender registry. Cont. from "to graded approach" | 2:55 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I was talking about the swing set. We wanted to have a swing set and other playground type equipment in our yard for the rare occasions when we can get written permission for our grandchildren to visit, but we can't have that in our yard because it would constitute an "enticement for children", or something to that effect. New legislation.

TO "MADE A MISTAKE". I understand what you are saying. We have the same problem with laws that keep changing, and my husband never did ANYTHING of which he was accused. His registry time was 10 years AFTER his 5 year probation. New legislation will make that 15 years AFTER his 5 year probation, if it is retroactive. That is not right. He will be 75 years old by then. Before this accusation we had hoped to serve an LDS mission together. That will never happen now. There are many other things permanently gone from our lives. If he'd done the crime, we could understand it, but.... He is not a child molester, either, and never has been or would be.

The Registry can be of help, but it also hurts people a lot, the way it is set up. Re: To Jim | 3:13 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
So, if its not safe anywhere than where should you go? Are you going to lock you and your kids in your home and not let them out? The problem with the news is that they never state the facts. A child is more likely to be molested by a relative or close friend of the family than a stranger. You should be more worried about family members than your neighbor. If you look at the statistics you shouldn't ever leave your kids alone with their father, grandfather, brother, cousin and uncle. Is the registry going to help or protect those kids that are going to be molested by someone not on the registry? NO it is not. Does it stop someone on the registry that is intent on offending again? NO it doesn't. Do you feel safer because you know who is on the registry in your neighborhood? NO, it shouldn't. You should keep an eye on your child at all times. And inform them of the dangers out there and how to react if someone does something to them that is inappropriate.
So, tell me how the registry is helping to save anyone??? Re: Ex Post Facto Law | 3:17 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The US Supreme Court has ruled that it is not a punishment to be put on the Registry there for it is not violating any of the offenders rights. Charle | 3:18 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I don't understand why the different cases can't be separated. My son messed up 6 yrs ago. He was charged with ATTEMPTED enticement of a minor on the internet. He was young and not thinking. He was talking to an FBI agent. He didn't physically hurt anyone but himself.Since then, he has repented and had counciling,been in jail.He did what he had to do. He is trying to get his life in order and no one will give him a break. Everytime he finds work to take care of himself, Someone recognizes him on the registry and they let him go. Does he have to or should he have to suffer for the rest of his life for making a mistake? He has a very soft heart. He would never hurt anyone. He just messed up and now can't get his life started. He just would like the chance to live his life. He would love to have a family and have friends. 10YRS on the registry is a long time for making a mistake. None of the situations are the same. Shirley Female Sex Offender | 3:24 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I agree "ExPostFactoLaw", I think it should, That isn't fair, but then again like he said to begin with, as many others have said, the "Victims" have rights! I don't think it is fair for the "Scarlet Letter" to be worn by those convicted in every case, but how do you "measure it" fairly? There will always be someone who says, "What about me my circumstances are different!" Personally I think they should have a Separate Prison for SEX OFFENDERS, and it should be "Co-Ed", they should be tested for STD's and when found "Free of STD's" be admitted to this Prison where they spend there time having sex with each other, It can be a Giant Orgy of Sex OFFENDERS! They can stay in there to do "Therapy" and "Offend" one another until they graduate to Consensual Sex, then be moved to the Other Area of the Prison to finish out there sentence and Rehab before being let out without a "Sex Offender Registry". If they "Re-Offend" it's Life without Parole, PERIOD! They want to make Thinking Errors like Animals, let them live like animals, and keep them out of the general population. References | 3:26 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
People here are claiming (and both have the image of being supported by some research) that people are likely to re-offend, and are not likely. What are the sources of these claims? I tend to be wary when people claim numbers like 5 or 10 0r 90 or 95 without some sort of back-up. Kate | 3:27 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
The recidivism rate is extremely low for sex offenders. No, they do not reoffend at alarming rates, as state by some of the previous posters. Our own Justice Department has the correct stats on their website. And the Federal Law that "Rich" was commenting on is probably on its way to being repealed. There is absolutely no grant money to fund this monstrosity of a bill that is so very unconstitutional. The grant money has been earmarked by our president to fund our wonderful war in Iraq.
Each state was promised a very small amount of grant money to implement this bill and the maintaining of this law is left up to each state and it will cost them upwards into the billions. Personally, I don't want my taxes to skyrocket by watching people who aren't going to reoffend. I want to see my money being spent on finding why these offenses are happening in the first place. This offenders are coming from within our own families. We are obviously doing something wrong with our child rearing. Television, video games, leaving our kids unsupervised to name a few. Every offender comes from someones family. Lets find out why. Re: they do reoffend | 3:40 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
I think you need to get your facts straight. You should look at the story 20/20 did about sex offenders and the registry. The number 90% of pediphiles reoffending came from a Senator that was caught lieing and was then caught in a sex offense himself. The numbers on sex offenders reoffending are much lower. On 20/20 they stated that they range from 8% in some cases to a high of 24% in others. In the state of Utah that number is even lower at around 5% that get treatment. And all of them have to pass a treatment program or they go back to jail or are not let out of jail until they do complete treatment.

You also need to look at the registry and actually look at the offenders case much closer because not everyone on the registry is a pedophile. There are very few true pedophiles out there. The government has a test that is very accurate in determining if an offender is a pedophile.

I agree that the offenders that are determined to be a threat should be locked up for a very long time but not all offenders should be classed together. Anonymous | 3:55 p.m. Apr. 3, 2008
intead of going after so called sex offenders why not use the money thats now being spent on this issue to teach parents how to watch there own children. if parents took the respodsibility to watching there own children none of this nonsense would happen.

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