Many people believe that Missouri requires too many people to register as sex offenders. Last session, the legislature seriously considered a proposal to pare the list of offenses that require mandatory registration.
A recent case involving a former Missouri resident was a stark reminder, however, of how the serious the consequences can be for failing to register when the law says it is necessary.
The case involved a man who was formerly from Rockport, Missouri. He was first convicted of a sex offense in Nebraska in 1995. The conviction was for sexual assault of a child.
Later, he was convicted in Iowa in 2003 of indecent contact with a child. Due to that conviction, he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life - no matter where he works or lives.
In February 2011, the man began working in Omaha, Nebraska. Federal authorities arrested him a year later, after verifying that he had not registered in Nebraska as a sex offender.
The man, now age 54, eventually pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender. A federal judge sentenced him this month to 2 ½ years in federal prison.
To be sure, the registration requirements for sex offenders are burdensome. The way the laws are written, arguably more offenses are included than really need to be. Indeed, many commentators believe that there are constitutional problems with such widespread registration.
But a case like this shows the consequences of simply trying to ignore sex offender registration laws.
Source: "Jail for Man Who Failed to Register as Sex Offender," WWOT, 8-14-12
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our page on sex offender registration.