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Panelist feel sex offender registry too harmful for minors

On Monday, April 6, the NYU Review of Law and Social Change hosted a panel to discuss the current sex offender registry and what people who are listed on it experience -- especially the stigma associated with it.

One of the panelists said that the category of sex offenders is expanding, but in troubling ways. He said, "From peeing in public to a serial pedophile, the sex offender label casts an enormous net that traps harmless people into the stereotype of child rapists." In addition, he said that the sensitive nature of sex offender registries as well as lack of interest in changing the requirements means that the laws governing inclusion on the list are seldom reformed.

Another panelist said that individual freedom is limited by the 2006 Adam Walsh Act. The act requires that the offender's personal information is included in the registry. Some offenders are even prohibited from using smartphones and are required to wear GPS tracking devices.

There are currently an estimated 800,000 people on sex offender registries across the United States. An expert on how sex offender lists affect children says that 200,000 of the people on sex offender list are minors and under the age of 18. She said that children need to be removed from the list because of the harm it causes. The minors, she said, should not be on the registries, as it limits opportunities for employment, housing and education.

Some who have been convicted of a sex crime and have completed their sentences may find that inclusion on a sex offender registry means their offense continues to haunt them. In some cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help.

Source: NYU News, "Panel examines sex crimes laws, registry," Lexi Faunce, April. 07, 2015

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