June 17, 2011

37 South Dakotans have names removed from sex offender registry

8-9-2010 South Dakota:

Sweeping changes to South Dakota's Sex Offender Registry passed by the Legislature this year have resulted in 37 names, including those of six Pennington County residents, being scrubbed from the list.

All 37 offenders had been convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure, according to Attorney General Marty Jackley, which meant the names were removed from the registry automatically on July 1. The registry can be found online at sor.sd.gov

Rapid City Police Lt. Tom Vliger said a half dozen of the names purged from the sex offender registry were from Pennington County.

“Pennington County had 309 people listed on the registry. Six were removed,” he said.

Vliger said that those convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure were not part of innocent pranks of locking people outdoors while naked, streaking or swimming in the nude.

“These are not people who are urinating in public,” Vliger said.

Misdemeanor indecent exposure involves an intent to arouse or gratify sexual behavior by someone exposing themselves in public in a way that is likely to annoy, offend or alarm another person, he said.

The important difference from the earlier examples is the intent to arouse sexual behavior, Vliger said.

Legislators passed changes to the registry in March, allowing some offenders to petition for removal and requiring the names of all those convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure to be purged.

Jackley had argued that misdemeanor offenders already on the list be required to petition as well, but lawmakers overruled him.

The Legislature made changes to the registry this year following an intensive set of studies from 2009-2010.

Lawmakers created a tiered system that allows people convicted of lesser sex offenses to be removed by petition either 10 or 25 years after their conviction. Those deemed high-risk, such as those convicted of violent rape or child molestation, are classified as Tier III offenders and are not eligible for removal.

Tier I offenders, who can petition for removal after 10 years, include those who were 21 or younger when convicted of statutory rape.

People on Tier II, who must wait 25 years, include those convicted of bestiality and incest.

Offenders on the registry still are required to report their address every time they move and are not allowed to live near schools, parks or pools.

There have been two petitions for removal delivered to Jackley's office for review, he said, but his attorneys have yet to offer a recommendation.

Offenders who wish to be removed must file a petition with the Unified Judicial System in their home county, after which Jackley’s office reviews the case and sends a recommendation to a local judge.

The judge can object or sign the petition. Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said his office has seen a courtesy copy of one petition, although local prosecutors are not required to review petitions.

The exact process has yet to be defined, Jackley said. Judges likely will have broad discretion.

“We’re kind of in uncharted waters at this point,” he said.

The Rev. Joe Panaia of Tea was glad to see his name removed. Panaia operates a ministry called “Bridging the Gap” and uses his past experiences to tell the story of how he has turned to Jesus.

“I’ve never tried to hide my past, but I'm not going to put it on the front page of my website,” he said.

Panaia’s appearance on the list, as well as past convictions for forgery and fraud, stirred controversy one year ago when he attempted to open a youth center in Tea. He eventually backed away from plans for the center.

Despite the guilty plea, Panaia maintains his innocence in the 2001 indecent exposure case. According to court documents, Panaia exposed himself to a co-worker and joked about her turning him in. He fought the charges but eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail and probation. ..Source.. by John Hult

1 comment:

Daniel Goichman said...

Well it's definitely a step in the right direction. Well as of today, june 18, 2011 - 11 innocent people have been murdered as a direct result of posting people's personal information on the internet. One person murdered wasn't even a sex offender. It's time to take action and end the violence - remove the registry - take everyone off it (not just 37 people) and allow people who have paid their debt back to society - enjoy their lives again. at least take 25000 people off the registry every year - show a little good effort. we spend a trillion dollars on wars to set other people free but we dont do anything to free 827,000 americans - pass laws to keep them unemployed, homeless, hated discriminated against and in some cases now murdered. its time to end slavery. abolish the registry and allow people to enjoy their lives at least whats left of it by now.