State sex offender registry slated for changes

State sex offender registry slated for changes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah's sex-offender registry will undergo changes as a result of a new federal law.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act creates a national registry and has minimum requirements for states, including verification of where people live.

Utah officials estimate it could cost about $1 million in staffing and overtime to comply with the law. The state would forfeit about $200,000 in federal money by opting out of some parts.

About 6,400 Utahns are registered as sex offenders. About half are in prison, jail or on parole.

Mike Haddon, a deputy director at the Corrections Department, said a committee inside the agency is drafting legislation to improve the registry. A key issue: Who should be on the list?

Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said the list includes someone who urinated on the side of the road and an 18-year-old who had sex with a 17-year-old. "Do they deserve to be on the registry?" Ford said.

Springville fertility specialist Larry Andrew was accused of sexually touching his female patients. He was recently sentenced on eight counts of sexual battery, but that misdemeanor offense doesn't put someone on the sex-offender registry.

After they have completed their sentence, offenders typically are on the list for 10 years and are required to update their information once a year or when they move.

Angela Andrews, who killed her 10-year-old stepdaughter, will be on the list for sexual abuse of a child. The charge wasn't dismissed when she pleaded guilty to murder.

Who should be on the registry? "We need to err on the side of public safety," said Troy Rawlings, the prosecutor who handled the Andrews case. "We need to use good judgment."


Information from: Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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