New bill would place certain minors on the Utah sex offender registry

A proposed bill in the 2023 Utah legislative session could require minors to register as sex offenders or follow sex offender guidelines.

A proposed bill in the 2023 Utah legislative session could require minors to register as sex offenders or follow sex offender guidelines. (Kira Hoffelmeyer, KSL NewsRadio)

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the details of four of bills being proposed for the 2023 Legislative session regarding the sex offender registry.

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah law doesn't require all violating minors to register or follow sex offender guidelines, but a proposed bill in the 2023 Utah Legislative Session might change that.

Utah's registry, the Sex and Kidnap Offender Registry, currently has around 7,000 registrants, something that four of the proposed bills would surely change.

KSL NewsRadio's legal analyst Greg Skordas said that Utah's registry has historically exclusively listed adults, but the bills that will be presented would adjust which juveniles can be added to the list, depending on the crime.

"Certain minors, who commit offenses that would be registerable sex offenses had they been adults, will be subject to the sex offender registry requirement," he said.

It contradicts Utah's previous rehabilitation attempts for juveniles, which Skordas said has proven to be effective.

"Historically in Utah, we treat juveniles as people that can be rehabilitated, people that can be changed, people that can be counseled. So putting them on a sex offender registry is a little bit contrary to that."

Once a sex crime has been convicted, an individual is put on the offender list for 10 years. But if the crime involves a child, they are guaranteed to be on the list for life.

A different bill, HB139, includes a clause that would honor a registry from another state, requiring offenders to register within 10 days after they arrive in Utah.

Areas that an offender can and can't enter are detailed, including private pools in any homeowners' association neighborhood, in HB146.

HB122 also clarifies the details and vagueness surrounding human trafficking's involvement with the registry.

Violation of the registry requirements would result in a more severe penalty and repeat offenders would receive increased restrictions, if HB99 passes the upcoming session. What was a misdemeanor would become a felony — and something that has led to 10 years on the list could end up being a lifetime.

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