House Approves Bill Allowing Sex Offenders to Petition for Removal from Registry

(KCPW News)  The Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill today that would allow a person on the state’s sex offender registry to petition for removal after five years.  Representative Jack Draxler, sponsor of House Bill 13, used the example of a man who was convicted at 19 years old of having sex with a 15 year old girl, whom he later married and fathered four children with.

“He cannot take his children to a park.  He cannot go to his children’s parent-teacher conference.  It affects where they can live, and it affects his employment,” said Draxler.  “Now I’m not trying to say that every one of these violations is this nature, but I’m saying that’s an example of the kind of thing this bill is trying to address.”

The legislation only applies to those convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17 year old if they were no more than 15 years older, or unlawful sexual activity with a minor if they were no more than 10 years older.  The person must also have completed all court ordered treatment and paid full restitution.

While he voted to approve the bill, Representative Tim Cosgrove warned lawmakers about its possible consequences.

“We as Representatives make these decisions up here, and it’s the child that suffers the consequences if the system fails, or if we’ve erred in a way that we haven’t been able to capture everything that we think we’ve seen,” said Cosgrove.

The bill passed in a 70 to zero vote and now goes to the Senate for consideration.