This is a terrible story about terrible legislation in Missouri, terrible legislation that offers hope to some.
Almost all sex offenders in Missouri are on a state registry for a lifetime, whether they made a one-time mistake, or made repeated or extreme offenses.
Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-St. Charles, wants to make it possible for certain people to petition to remove their name from the list and for the registry to be more transparent for the public.
A Senate committee heard a bill that already has passed the House which would do three things:
- Require stricter background checks for those wishing to work in a childcare facility.
- Impose a mandatory life sentence without eligibility for parole for a person convicted of a predatory sexual offense.
- Create a tiered system to allow sex offenders to petition to be removed from the sex offender registry.
Notice that only one of the three offers hope to registrants.
Bahr’s bill, HB 2042, would create a tiered system, similar to what the federal government uses, to make it possible for people who have committed an offense that falls into the first two tiers to petition to have their name removed from the registry.
Those whose offenses fall into tier one would be able to petition after 10 years of good standing, and those in tier two could petition after 25 years. Sex offenders who fall into tier three, who have committed repeated and more serious crimes, would be on the registry for a lifetime.
Moving from all-lifetime to 10-25-lifetime tiers might be an improvement for some but that isn’t what Bahr’s bill would do. It would make it possible to petition for removal from the registry after 10 years for tier 1, and after 25 years for tier 2.
Removal after 10 and 25 years is not guaranteed.