May 22, 2012

Frederick backs sex offender registry reform

5-22-2012 Missouri:

Rolla, Mo. — There are more than 30 registered sex offenders in the Rolla area and more than two dozen more throughout Phelps County.

115th District Rep. Rodney Schad (R) is hoping that a bill he sponsored, which is supported by 149th District Rep. Keith Frederick (R), would help many of those sex offenders become more productive members of society.

“For eight years I have received emails and letters and had people walk through the door explaining to me what they had done and admitting their guilt and then sharing with me what they are going through with the current laws,” Schad said. “I pretty well ignored it for six years thinking it was very few people.”

Schad says he realized there are many people who have to register after committing offenses like exposing themselves in public or having a sexual relationship with someone underage while they themselves were still fairly young — for example a 19-year-old who dated a 16-year-old.

“I know it is not legal to have sex with an underage person, but these people have gone to prison, they have done their time ... they are absolutely not a danger to society,” he said.

Frederick said it is this group of people he wants to help with this bill.

“They could end up staying together and getting married and having a family,” Frederick said, “but one of them could end up on that registry creating all sorts of complications in their lives.”

Some complications include being banned from school functions, and not being allowed to pick their toddler up from day care.

Schad said he also realized that by registering it made it difficult for some to find housing, employment and other necessities.

“They are on the welfare system — many of them are anyways — and that is a problem right there,” Schad said.

With these realizations, Schad set out to draft a law to revise Missouri’s sex offender registry.

What he came up with was House Bill 1700, which was co-sponsored by Speaker of the House Steven Tilley. ..For the rest of this story.. by Shannon Beck

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