Connecticut is due to remove 74 sex offenders from its sex offender registry before the end of the year, says the Hartford Courant. They are in a category of offenders required to register for 10 years. The registry reached its 10-year anniversary Wednesday; the first two names came off the list yesterday. In the next year, 153 names are expected to be purged. As of Tuesday, the list had 5,099 names on it. The purpose of the 10-year provision is to recognize that as disturbing as sexual assaults may be, not all of the people who commit them are threats to public safety, said state Rep. Michael Lawlor, co-chairman of the legislature’s judiciary committee. Lawlor said an 18-year-old might carries on a high school romance with a 15-year-old girl, which is a violation of state law, but they marry and start a family. That man should not be viewed in the same light as other sex offenders, he said.
Under the law, those convicted of a “sexually violent offense” and repeat offenders register for life. Lawlor would like to see the registry pared further. He supports putting only the most dangerous sex offenders on the list, which has doubled in size since 2003. “There are so many names, it’s hard to decide who’s really dangerous and who’s not,” said Lawlor, who also is an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven and a former prosecutor. Defense attorney Al Mencuccini says the 10-year clause makes sense. “I’m not sure a person should be labeled the rest of their life for something that happened a long time ago,” he said. Being on the sex offender registry, which is easily accessed on the Internet, is like having a scarlet letter, he said. “That’s a brand we don’t even put on people who have murdered someone.”