Column: New law allows certain sex offenders the opportunity to petition to be removed from the list

Sex offenders should not all be treated the same, some actually learn from their mistakes.

Tatyana Monnay is a sophomore journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

Gov. Mike Parsons just ended Missouri’s 23-year bind that kept sex offenders on the registry for life by signing Senate Bill 655. Now a law, it also mandates that the new age of marriage is 16. The law also eliminates the statute of limitations for sexual offenses committed against minors.

The law introduces a new tiered system for the sex offender registry, based on the severity of the sexual crime.

Tier I offenders will be on the registry for 15 years. This is the tier for the least offensive sex crimes. Tier II offenders will be on the registry for at least 25 years before they will be able to petition to be off the list.

Tier II offenders consist of the “more egregious types of offenders,” Rep. Kurt Bahr (R), a major advocate for this bill, said in an interview with the Columbia Missourian.

Tier III offenders consist of rapists, child molesters and other major sexual offenders. They will not have the opportunity to petition to be removed from the list. Tier III offenders will remain on the list for life, despite this new law.

However, in an interview with the Columbian Missourian, the president of the Missouri Association for Prosecuting Attorneys, Amy Fite, said that the only time that Tier III offenders will be able to petition to be removed from the list is if the offense was committed while the offender was under 18-years old and has kept a clean record for a minimum of 25 years.

As Missouri begins to organize and label new and current sex offenders, we need to create a new standard for how we categorize various degrees of sexual offenses. These subjective ideas must be defined by law, despite how difficult this may seem.

One of the main facets that should be considered is the damage, psychologically and physically, the victim of the sexual offense received. The aggressiveness and maliciousness of the crime must also be considered.

The more aggressive the crime, the higher the tier the crime belongs to. A group of psychologists and a judge should examine the sex offense on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, offenders should have to undergo some type of morals and judgement screening to show if they have actually learned from their offense and realize why it was wrong to do. This will also help in determining whether they will commit another sexual offense in the future. If they cannot pass this screening, their petition should be denied.

How will we determine how minimal a sex offense is? And quite honestly, how minimal can a sex offense be? How is someone able to judge that?

I do think that there are some sex offenders that should have the right to petition and be removed from the list. We all make mistakes and can not judge someone for a mistake, just because we could not see ourselves making that kind of mistake.

However, it is human nature to judge and I can’t help feeling like this bill could be a big mistake. In the society we live in now, I think we have no choice but to hope and give people the opportunity to change.

An important reminder about this bill: offender's petitions can be denied and I’m sure that some will be. This bill is simply an opportunity to allow people to change and get back on the right course to become a fully functional member of society.

Share: Facebook / Twitter / Google+

Article comments


This item does not have any approved comments yet.

Post a comment

Please provide a full name for all comments. We don't post obscene, offensive or pure hate speech.