Some 1,155 sex offenders have been removed from Maryland’s sex offender registry since February, reports the Baltimore Sun. Almost 400 of them are rapists, including a man who raped a blind teenage girl in a mall parking lot and a man who raped a 67-year-old woman who was walking her dog. Most have been stripped out because of a decision by Maryland’s highest court. That ruling handed a victory to advocates who said the registries were unfairly punitive, but has troubled legislators and upset victims. One offender named Robin Lippold “should have to pay for his crimes as long as his victims are paying for them, and I’m still paying,” said his victim.
“If the state isn’t going to protect the public from such criminals then, at the least, the state has a responsibility to let its citizens know where the person is living,” she said. “The kind of vileness it takes for a human being to seek out and rape unknown women doesn’t go away.” The Court of Appeals ruling — that laws governing the registry subjected some offenders to a form of retroactive punishment — has radically altered Maryland’s system of tracking people convicted of sex crimes. Experts say there’s little evidence that the registries help keep the public safe, and can unfairly punish offenders.