More sex offenders coming off state's registry

LEWISTON — The growing list of sex offenders whose names have been removed from the state's public registry includes dozens who were convicted of crimes against children or violent sex crimes and others who have multiple convictions.

Of the 370 who have so far successfully petitioned the State's Bureau of Identification to have their names pulled from the public registry, 120 were convicted of the highest class of felony sex crimes, 167 were convicted of crimes involving minor children and one released from the registry was also convicted of attempted murder.

The list of those released from the registry was obtained by the Sun Journal under Maine's open access and freedom of information laws shows some of those removed from the registry committed multiple sex crimes or crimes against multiple victims.

One recently removed registrant was convicted of sexually assaulting multiple children under the age of 6; another was convicted of raping, kidnapping, robbing and assaulting an 81-year-old.

All have met the criteria set forth in Maine law as it was changed by the state Legislature in 2009. Under those changes, those who were convicted between 1982 and 1992, who were released from jail before Sept. 1, 1998, and who have not re-offended since their release can petition to be removed from the registry. They must also not have more than one Class A sex offense conviction and must have been compliant with other registry requirements.

On Thursday, state lawmakers passed legislation further amending the registry law in an attempt to comply with a Maine Supreme Judicial Court finding that gave the Legislature until April 1, 2010, to make changes to the law, which it deemed "unconstitutional" because of its "post facto" components.

In simple terms, the court said the Legislature couldn't force those convicted and punished before the registry was created to comply with it. Forcing those offenders to register was deemed double punishment for the same crime and unconstitutional.

Lawmakers have argued that the registry was created not as another form of punishment but as a way to protect public safety.

The bill passed Thursday further expands the number of sex offenders eligible to petition the state for removal from the registry by allowing those convicted between 1982 and 1999 to ask, if they meet the criteria, to have their names removed from the registry. It also loosens the requirements for those on the registry, allowing many to register by mail every 90 days or in person at their local police department every five years.

The new law still requires some to register for life and allows for retroactive registration for the most serious crimes, according to a summary of the bill on the Legislature's Web site. The bill is crafted after an Alaskan state law that withstood a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.

Expanding the eligibility to include those convicted up to 1999 would mean as many 2,000 more sex offenders would become eligible to be removed from the list, said Matthew Ruel, director of the Maine State Bureau of Identification. Once an offender's name is removed from the registry, they no longer have to meet other requirements such as registering with local police.

Ruel, a civilian employee of the Maine State Police, said law enforcement officials around Maine have voiced strong concerns over allowing more convicted sex offenders off the registry.

Most on the registry have multiple offenses and many have multiple sex-related convictions, Ruel said. "The vast majority were crimes against kids under the age of 14."

Ruel said the list of people coming off the registry was "growing every day." More than 709 have petitioned to be removed from the registry. So far, 89 have been denied.

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

That's the politicians for you

What does it matter if our children are abused? It doesn't matter to them, but let it be one of their  own, they would think differently. I think these offenders should be placed on an island in the middle of the ocean, with no means of escape, let them abuse each other, see how they like it. Well, maybe they would, they are sick enough! I feel this country is going to the dogs, really fast. There is no justice anymore. You have these sorry a_ _ politicians & judges that think they can rule everything in our lives. Whatever happened to our freedom & justice?

 

 's picture

I disagreee

I do think that once a sex offender, your name should be on a registry forever.  Maybe many never re-offend, but we do hear about those who do quite often.

 's picture

does ruin lives

Rudy101, have you ever talked to abuse victims? I have talked to many, including people that have come forward and people who wish that they have. Everyone of them has had there life alltered in  a negative way. They suffer from PTSD, nightmares, substance abuse, runnung away,abusive relationships, the list is long. There is not one person that I have talked to that has said "oh, it was no big deal being sexualy abused, I'm fine." People try to overcome it, and it can happen. But it will never go away, no matter how old you are. The pain of that part of your life, will be there. Childrens lives as they knew it were stolen and changed by these monsters, what right did they have under the Constitution? I suggest you get to know some victims, and would you really want your children living among "unknown" child molesters? Not if you had any common sense.

 's picture

WTF

So I take it it's alright for the children who have been abused don't really matter. It doesn't matter if they are most likely adults now, they will never forget it, and are sentenced with those memories and pain for the rest of their lives. They can't petition a court to erase that past from them, why should a sex offender be able to? These low lifes shouldn't of commited this horrific crime if they couldn't pay the price. They might as well let everyone out of jail too and off the hook for every major crime commited. Because that what child abuse is a major crime.

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