The killings of two convicted child molesters in Maine prompted authorities to suspend the state’s online sex-offender registry briefly and revived concerns that such sites may encourage vigilante-style justice, says USA Today. The Maine Sex Offender Registry’s online search was taken down Sunday after two convicted sex offenders were shot and killed in their towns 25 miles apart, said Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety. Stephen Marshall, identified by police as the only suspect, killed himself Sunday night as police boarded the bus he had taken to Boston.
Marshall had logged onto the site before the two men were shot several times. The site provides photos, names, ages, addresses, and conviction histories of about 2,200 registered sex offenders. Maine restored its sex-offender website yesterday. Most states post sexual-offender registries online, says Charles Onley of the Center for Sex Offender Management, a project of the U.S. Department of Justice. Critics of the online registries have warned that readily available details about sex offenders could spur widespread vigilante-style killings. That has not happened, Onley says.