Judge to rule on sex registry

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AUGUSTA (AP) – A Superior Court judge is expected to rule soon on whether Maine’s sex offender registry is constitutional, according to Maine’s attorney general, who is representing two of the defendants.

The registry, which lists hundreds of sex offenders and their addresses in Maine, has been under scrutiny since the Easter Sunday slayings of two men who appeared on the online list. Their killer tracked the victims to their homes through the registry and investigators say he also noted where other sex offenders lived.

A lawsuit filed last week by a convicted sex offender using the name John Doe claims Maine’s registry is unconstitutional.

The law authorizing Maine to keep the registry “is on firm constitutional ground,” said Attorney General Steven Rowe. “The Legislature has made it very clear that John Doe should be registered under the law, and it is not for prosecutors, law enforcement officers, or the courts to be making exceptions.”

Superior Court Justice Kirk Studstrup heard arguments on a motion Monday morning for a temporary restraining order to stop the state from registering him as a sex offender, and is expected to issue a ruling soon, Rowe said.

The Kennebec County man who filed the suit was convicted in 1985 of unlawful sexual contact with a 12-year-old boy. The plaintiff says the April 16 killings of Joseph Gray of Milo and William Elliott of Corinth occurred because the men were listed in the registry.

He said his wife has threatened to leave out of concern for the safety of her family.

“Nobody wants to see anybody’s life destroyed or anything of that nature,” said Fowle. “But at some point the rights of law-abiding citizens with families have to count for something.”

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