Friday, April 21, 2006

More on sex-offender registries

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.


1 comment:

missy said...

after listening to this I can feel for some of the people on the registry, but he still broke the law. I am not saying that it isn't a somewhat understandable mistake, but he did it.
If the punishments were harsher do you think that he would have risk it?
four years isn't a huge gape unless you're talking about younger than eighteen. There is a reason that is the legal age. This first case of a fifteen year old and a ninteen year old is interesting because at those ages the brain and maturity developement are drastic.
I think it was wrong for him to sleep with a fifteen year old. It's great that he's married to her now, but they shouldn't have had sexual relations untill she was eighteen and legal.