Report Contends Juveniles Shouldn’t Be on Public Sex Offender Lists


Government authorities should end the practice of placing juveniles’ names on publicly accessible sex-offender registries, contends the advocacy group Human Rights Watch in a report warning of lasting and unwarranted harm to some youths, says the Associated Press. Some law enforcement officials and victims’ rights advocates agree the registry system is flawed and support steps to allow more discretion in juvenile offenders’ cases. Offenses triggering inclusion on registries range from rape to consensual sex between children to “sexting” of photos that depict nudity or sex activity. “You’ve got to create a system that keeps the public safe but does not stigmatize a young person for the rest of their life,” said Mai Fernandez, an ex- prosecutor who heads the National Center for Victims of Crime. Human Rights Watch said its report is a comprehensive examination of registry laws’ impact on juvenile sex offenders. In two cases cited, youths convicted of sex offenses at 12 committed suicide at 17 due to what their mothers said was despair related to the registries.

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