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Missouri Sex Offenders: Governor, St. Louis Police Don't Want Hundreds Taken Off Registry

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Skiddie2003
The fight to allow hundreds of registered sex offenders in Missouri to have their names cleared is heating up again -- with loud opposition from Governor Jay Nixon, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officials and victims' rights advocates.

Nixon, a Democrat, last month vetoed legislation that would rewrite state law regarding sexual offenses and sexually violent offenders -- most notably removing about 870 sex offenders from state and county notification websites. That was, it turns out, not the end of the discussion. As is the case with a handful of bills Nixon rejected this session, lawmakers in the Republican-led legislature are now working to override his veto of the offender registry reforms, and the governor -- with support from a range of stakeholders -- is pushing back.

"The leadership of the House may be ready to help violent sex offenders hide from the public and law enforcement, but their victims, and the millions of Missourians who use these websites to help keep their families safe, are not," Nixon says in a statement.

See also: Is The Missouri Sex Offenders Registry Too Broad?

Nixon stopped by the St. Louis metro police headquarters last week to criticize the effort to override his veto, standing alongside Police Chief Sam Dotson and other local law enforcement officials.

The police department says it supports Nixon in the "fight to protect our community against sexual offenders and protect the rights of crime victims!"

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Facebook / SLMPD
Police Chief Sam Dotson with Governor Jay Nixon, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch and others.

The governor's office argues that, as written, the legislation, House Bill 301, would allow individuals who committed sex offenses as juveniles to have their names taken off of the state and county notification sites -- and also prevent any individual in that category from being placed on these registries in the future. One problem, Nixon says, is that the bill does not take into account the seriousness of the offense, such that even a juvenile guilty of forcible rape could get off the list.

Additionally, he says, "This legislation would also deny local prosecutors and victims of these horrible crimes the opportunity to be heard before an offender is removed."

Last month, after Nixon's veto, we interviewed State Rep. Kevin Engler, the Republican sponsor of the bill, who argues that the list is ineffective if it also includes minor offenders who are not dangerous or a risk to society. The registry, he says, is way too broad and lumps together offenders who committed incredibly heinous crimes with those who may be guilty in a statutory case (involving, for example, a consensual relationship between an eighteen-year-old and a sixteen-year-old).

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via Facebook
Rep. Kevin Engler.

This morning, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a local victim's rights advocacy group, fired off a statement announcing its opposition to the bill as well, saying, in part:

It's very sad when someone who has committed a crime is excessively punished. It's even sadder, however, when someone who is innocent is victimized needlessly. Taking offenders' names off the registry could easily lead to more assaults against children. We should think long and hard before making that kind of change.

The group argues that there is not enough independent scientific research to determine whether these changes will do anything to protect more children.

The Post-Dispatch has an interview today with the fiancé of a man arrested for child pornography when he was a teen. She argues that it's unfair he will have this label for the rest of his life for a mistake he made years ago.

The legislature may push to override Nixon next month.

Here's the full bill, followed by the governor's veto message.

HB 301

HB 301 Veto 301veto

And here is SNAP's full statement.

Missouri lawmakers want to suddenly remove hundreds of names of convicted criminals from the state sex offender registry. We oppose this move.

When pondering changes to the sex offender registry, there should be only one criterion: will the proposed change protect more children? And in this case, it's just too early to tell. So we in SNAP favor keeping the registry unchanged until independent scientific research clearly shows a need to change it.

Remember: Studies suggest that between 8% and 12% of kids will be sexually assaulted. (According to Darkness to Light, "there will be 400,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually abused before they turn 18 if we do not prevent it.") We must put the well-being of thousands of children ahead of the inconvenience of dozens of offenders.

Decision-makers are adults. Most of them were never molested. So they naturally and instinctively sympathize with other adults. That sympathy leads some lawmakers to give some who have hurt kids a break.

But sympathies alone don't make good public policy. We must examine both our feelings and the facts. And the facts tell us we should err on the side of safeguarding children.

It's very sad when someone who has committed a crime is excessively punished. It's even sadder, however, when someone who is innocent is victimized needlessly. Taking offenders' names off the registry could easily lead to more assaults against children. We should think long and hard before making that kind of change.

Who's on the sex offender registry should be based on likelihood of re-offense, not on some arbitrary age.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.



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50 comments
David Eye
David Eye

you look like a cop and have the mentality of one, typical pig moustache, based on viewing your profile your also a fucking loser, thats why cops act that way because they got picked on, like you, cheesy faggot

David Eye
David Eye

right...when ya gotta go ya got to go, far from a bathroom, and peeing in the woods is normal, hoosier or not it was over the top, you sound like a facist pig lover

Dale Longwood
Dale Longwood

There aren't any good christians here. Sex offenders should be forgiven. God has already forgiven them.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

violent thugs roam out streets freely while we worry about a list...maybe priorities in this one horse town need to be updated...

James Madison
James Madison

illogical. How does registering prevent someone from doing a crime?

Jason Charney
Jason Charney

I can't argue with that. There probably should be a review on a case-by-case basis to clear up some of those cases. Probably should take it up with who ever is in charge of it.

Rachel Malin Davis
Rachel Malin Davis

this is a damn if you do damn if you dont question and or topic. lets say there are cases that do get removed or the person no longer has to register. well the very moment that the person decides to mess up and do a criminal act and get caught. especially if it is on the list of sex crimes. maybe the person goes out and rapes and kills a person. then you would automatically have the family, the public, the community in a rage because this would have and could have been prevented if the person had to register. and so forth. either way there is no easy answer.

David Eye
David Eye

my friend got caught peeing by a tree with no body but me nearby, a cop car rolled by, slammed on brakes, acted like they were after a notorious terrorist, barely had time to zip up before they threw him down hard, cussing him out (there were 3 cops one a woman that was total bitch), and harassed him for about an hour or more at the station after they arrested him, they were saying shit like why you flashing your dick huh? and making fun of the way he looked,and a bunch of other unnecessary bullshit, he now on a sex offender list, bullshit, stl pigs are assholes., seen it all with my own eyes, no resisting even tho they liked to shou t stop resisting, was pretty over the top.and corrupt, not the first time ive seen STL police act like fascist jerks, beating shit out a teenager and macing the hell out of him after they grabbed him for walking past theater entrance for the arcade, even had just seen a movie, again said he was resisting, 4 big cops, small skinny teen, cool.

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

I feel like these people should be given a second chance. These could be your neighbors, especially if you live in St Charles or Jefferson or Franklin counties. They could be in the next trailer over. So the Bible teaches us to give second chances, to forgive these people, because we know that God has. And it can also be hard to resist temptation. Some of these "victims" are rather cute. 

Laura Miller
Laura Miller

I lived in a different state, so I am not sure about Mo. However, in my former state they list the crime or charge that put the person on the list. I say just do that. But yes, we need a list. Watch the news and what happens to children and adults on a daily basis... And yes, the dumb teenager stuff should perhaps have it's own section - so a background check would reveal a special designation. I'd rather do that than hope that no minor ever committed a violent act. Because we know some have... For those that say when you've done your time let them be, part of doing your time is being on the list. It's a scary world out there, let's not make it scarier... ps. This means No.

Michael Javert
Michael Javert

And for rapists, and child molesters, and perverts that force themselves onto children especially, there is a cure. It is called surgical castration, and for those ones that have hurt someone else, they shouldn't get the benefit of anesthesia. If that alone doesn't deter it, it will definitely cure it.

Patrick Keller
Patrick Keller

Depends on the severity of their crime! If it was a rape (and you can prove it was a rape and not consensual sex) then no, but if it was consensual sex and he/she was an adult then yes by all means take them off the list.

Michael Mahler
Michael Mahler

All that registry accomplishes is that it makes it easy for vigilantes to take the law into their own hands.

Richard Hunt
Richard Hunt

Is there a registry for murderers? How about bank robbers? Smash and Grabs? Why should there be a registry for one criminal but not others?

Michael Javert
Michael Javert

If they didn't do anything violent, if they didn't use force, and if it was consensual, then yes, they should be taken off the registry. But if they abducted, or raped, or forced someone, then the public has a right to know who they are and where they are.

Vincent Haynes
Vincent Haynes

yes, the point of prison is supposed to be rehabilitation. if sex offenders are in fact rehabilitated, then they should be removed from the list after a while if they do not re-offend. they will never be apart of society if they remain on the list forever, as no one will hire them for any decent jobs, their housing choices will be limited, many colleges will not accept them, i.e. they will not have the chance to be productive citizens. in addition, as juveniles, they deserve a second chance.

Rj Hub
Rj Hub

yes but the people u buy sex usually don't know if someone has been involved with human trafficking. human traffickers should stay on the list. but labeling a john or a prostitute as a sex offender seems absurd to me.

sjjpsjjp
sjjpsjjp

There should never be one size fits all statutes or in this case The Adam Walsh Act & it's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) that are unconstitutional legislation.  It is like in WWII if you are a Jew according to Hitler "All Jews must die".  Or Franklin Roosevelt, if you are a Japanese "intern them all they might be spies".  There was not one of the hundreds of thousands of  American Japanese interned prosecuted for spying or any other crime against our country.  

Everyone needs to watch their government and its leaders or they will mistreat you.  Governor Nixon is no different.  His entire attitude and argument is without foundation of facts, yet he insists he is right and everyone else can go to hell.  Nice work huh? I hope you aren't a teen who got caught up in this BS or you will have no future and no life to speak of.  


Bambi Zj Baker
Bambi Zj Baker

Well depends you can be a sex offender for stupid stuff other then horrific incidents. I.e. peeing in public or walking nude in your own home

Dennis Hanson
Dennis Hanson

Prostitution has a lot more issues around it dealing with human trafficking.

Sarah Pashia
Sarah Pashia

Depends on the circumstance. A lot of stupid things can put you on the offender list; peeing in public, flashing your breasts, etc...

Renee Boyer
Renee Boyer

Yes, each case should be evaluated to see if the crime really warrants being tracked for the rest of your life. Rapists, child molesters, etc. should be on the list. Horny teenagers who had consentual sex with other horny teenagers, not so much.

Heather Girone
Heather Girone

Should be determined on a case-by-case basis. There a bazillion stupid things you can do to get put on this list. 1 act of stupidity (where no one got hurt) should at least have a chance of getting off the list. I've seen this thing ruin people's lives.

Michael Mahler
Michael Mahler

Frankly, once someone does their time, they should be free to move on with their lives without being a social pariah for the rest of their lives. If they are that dangerous then don't let them out... otherwise let them be.

Rj Hub
Rj Hub

depends on the crime - like prostitution. I don't this people who are convicted for soliciting prostitution should even be on the list. that's stupid. or consensual sex within a 3-4 year age range. but rapists - yes. child molesters - yes.

Amy Turnbull
Amy Turnbull

If they look a piss near a playground in the middle of the night on the way home from the bar... maybe

Chad Hanebrink
Chad Hanebrink

It's a case by case basis. Hell, you can get put on the list for streaking or something equally stupid.

Gregg Mueller
Gregg Mueller

Yes. Look up everything that can put you on the list.

Kate Tabers
Kate Tabers

If a person was added because they were caught peeing behind a tree, or an 18 year old who was put on because the parents of a 17 year old screamed rape, then yeah. But for straight up rapists, hell no.

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

you can rehabilitate a murderer easier than a rapist or child molester...those two convictions should be automatic death penalty within 30 days of sentencing

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

i`d release marijuana dealers before i would take names off the sex offenders list

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

Depends on the offense and how long it has been since said offense. There are a lot of people on the registry for really stupid reasons.

sjjpsjjp
sjjpsjjp

Governor Nixon and cronnies and citizens of Missouri; please go to the site below and read to gain some knowledge.  Learn what our Governor doesn't know about sex offender registration.

Contact:Sandy Rozek                                                                                                               
Reform Sex Offender Laws,Inc.                            
communications@reformsexoffenderlaws.org                                               
888.997.7765 x 1                                                                      
www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org
“The civil rights activism demonstrated by Bayard Rustin continues today,” stated Brenda Jones, Executive Director, National Reform Sex Offender Laws. “We are fighting against laws which punish individuals and often result in unemployment, homelessness and vigilante violence, even death.”
“An important topic to be discussed at the conference will be a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled that registration of sex offenders is not punishment, but merely an administrative requirement,” state Janice Bellucci, President of California RSOL. “Subsequent to that decision, there is overwhelming evidence to prove that registration is not an administrative requirement, but indeed punishment. Registration of sex offenders has resulted in unemployment, homelessness and even vigilante violence. This decision must be overturned.”

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