SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A new bill, which passed a committee hearing unanimously yesterday, would allow some sex offenders to get off the sex offender registry sooner, and it has many Utahn’s talking.
“I think it depends on what the crime was,” says Michael Mendenhall, “Sometimes I think it’s that consensual sex, you know, where it’s the young like 15 – 18 year-old, I think maybe it could be shortened then?”
While Carrie Miller says, “I think they should make it a higher limit that a sex offender is on the registry, I don’t think it should be reduced.”
According to the Utah Department of Corrections there are more than 7,300 sex offenders on Utah’s registry. About 90 of those offenders are currently on the list for a Class A misdemeanor, which includes enticing a minor and voyeurism.
House Bill 16, would allow those offenders to apply for a reduction of their time on the registry five years after they compete their sentence and complete certain requirements. Current Utah law states someone should remain on the registry for 10 years regardless of the crime.
“I still think it’s the same, I think if you’ve committed a crime of a sexual act, you should be listed and people should be aware,” says Miller.
If an applicant’s request is denied, they have to wait another three years before they can petition to remove their name from the list. However, some Utahn’s don’t feel sex offenders should get the luxury of early removal.
“I think it should be forever, I don’t think they should be taken off the list,” says Miller.
Some people we spoke to felt that, in certain situations, offenders should be able to petition to get their names off the list. Especially if it was a case involving minors engaging in sexual conduct with other minors, or those within a reasonable age gap as long as it was consensual.
“16 to 19 isn’t really that big of an age gap, like 20 to 23 – in three years it’s not that big of an age gap – so I think that could be on where they could apply for earlier, it it’s a consensual kind of thing,” says Mendenhall.
While other believe the law is the law, and those engaging in such acts should know and be aware of the consequences.
“People that are engaging with a sexual act with a minor should be aware and know they’ve been told that it’s against the law and they need to respect that,” says Miller.
As opinionated as both sides are a committee unanimously voted on Tuesday to move the bill to the House floor for a vote.