New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch has no plans to review his state’s online registry of sex offenders in light of two killings in Maine, a spokesman said Tuesday.
“We are focused on making sure that parents can protect their children from threats,” Lynch spokeswoman Pamela Walsh said. “Obviously, we hope people will use the information responsibly.”
Claire Ebel, executive director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, opposes such registries. She said they do little to protect children and may hurt them by giving parents a false sense of security, as when an offender living across the street fails to register.
“The vast majority of people who abuse children are people known to them – (members of) their families, neighbors,” Ebel said.
She hopes the events in Maine will remind state legislators everywhere that “vigilante justice does not result in justice.”
New Hampshire had its own episode of vigilante justice involving its sex-offender registry in 2003, when Lawrence Trant stabbed a man and lit fires in two buildings in Concord, where at least seven convicted sex offenders lived.
He was sentenced to 10-to-30 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted murder.
In a prison interview in 2004, Trant, then 57, said he thought his crimes were “morally justified.”
A prosecutor said Trant probably would have killed someone if he hadn’t been caught.
“He doesn’t seem to have any conscience about violence to other people,” prosecutor John Weld said.
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