I heard this story on NPR this afternoon while I was driving home. Thought you'd be interested -- here's a link, and then when you get to the NPR site, click on the "listen to this story" button.
Many states -- including Utah -- list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose no risk to the public. There's a map at the NPR site that shows states' policies.
Murders Put Focus on Sex-Offender Registry Policies
All Things Considered, April 21, 2006 · Nobody knows why Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life.
One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he'd slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.
These deaths and others raise troubling questions about the public sex-offender registries which every state has. And they highlight the fact that many states list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose little risk to the community.
When Mark Perk read about the men murdered in Maine, he thought the same fate might have befallen him. "They put my name and address on there," Perk says. "Anyone can find me. Yeah, it scared us."
Perk is on Illinois' sex-offender registry for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. She's now his wife and the mother of their two children. Perk says he knows he broke the law -- but he says he's no child molester. He's just treated like one.
"My wife and I get pulled over constantly because our license is registered to a sex offender," he says.
Perk says he has received telephone calls from people calling him a child molester and threatening his life. "People pull by the house all the time, staring in the windows," he says.