By Mariana Chrisney
SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would add criminals who “entice a minor” or engage in voyeurism to the Utah Sex Offender Registry is set for a final vote in the Utah House.
HB16 would add add the crimes as Class A misdemeanors on the registry. The registry program, often called Megan’s Law in many states, helps residents know when convicted sex offenders live in their neighborhood.
Rep. Jack R. Draxler, R-Logan, is sponsoring the bill. While most sex offenders remain in the registry for life, those convicted of these lesser offenses could be removed after five years.
Draxler noted that the current registry, has been particularly successful in the state of Utah. ” I believe that the offender registry has served the state well and the citizens of the state. It needs to be good it needs to be valid.”
Draxler also addressed that Utah residents need to be cautious about how to use sex offender registries. Although they are helpful, he warns that “they do not fully protect citizens, as some sex offenders have not been apprehended.”
Draxler mentions that there are people on the registry list who “don’t belong there anymore.” The bill is for offenders who have cleaned up their history and are ready to be removed from the registry.
Draxle explained that sex offenders can petition to be taken off the registry after five years under certain conditions. In order to be removed from the registry, a sex offender must pay restitution, have no new convictions, and comply with registry requirements to be eligible.
However, if the petition is rejected, the offender will have to wait another three years to be given another chance to be taken off the list.