As things stand now, judges rarely allow petitioners off the list, attorneys say."Emotions are going to win over medicine," said Matthew Fry, a Clayton-based defense attorney.
Schad said some employers are reluctant to hire sex offenders because they know the address of their business will be listed on the site.The state sex offender registry took effect in 1995.Some sex offenders would no longer have to be on a public registry under a bill passed by the Missouri House.The sponsor of the bill, Rodney Schad, R-Versailles, said that only about 5 percent of sexual offenders ever reoffend, and that many of the offenders are guilty of simply being, "young, dumb and stupid." He said people found guilty of offenses like public urination have been put into the same shunned category as pedophiles and child rapists."So when we get on the website, we look and we see all these offenders living around us.Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Mc Culloch, president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting attorneys.
Julie Lawson, executive director of the Crime Victim Advocacy Center of St.Louis, said it may surprise some people, but she supports the changes."It removes the people who probably shouldn't be on this list," she said."While it may seem that we are loosening the grip, right now the system is watered down with people who are not really a threat to us."Zachary Wilson, development director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said the group is watching the legislation but doesn't have an official stance on it.He said that if people are coming off the list, there needs to be a way of evaluating whether the people are a threat to the community. Louis Circuit Court and an assistant circuit attorney, considers the changes part of the registry's evolution.He tells others that the registry is a source of information and should not be the only tool used to protect children."Most sex offenses are committed by relatives, friends, people who know the victim," he said.He says that he cannot hold down a job and that visitation with his 14-year-old daughter has been extremely limited because of his status.