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Town uses registration fee to keep out past sex offenders

Town uses registration fee to keep out past sex offenders

There are very few crimes in Minnesota that will expose an individual to a lifetime of restrictions, but sexual assault is one of them. Even after a former offender has served his or her time, he or she will likely be placed on the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry, which may mean police will always be keeping tabs on the former offender and his or her neighbors will always know about his or her past. There will be restrictions on jobs, housing and the overall negative social stigma of having been to jail for sexual assault.

One town, however, is taking those restrictions even further by proposing to charge an extremely high rate to register with police, a requirement with which anyone on that state’s sex offender registry must comply. Although this story is not in Minnesota, it is possible that the idea may spread here. With the extreme societal bias against people who have ever been to prison, it would not be unreasonable to assume that some towns in Minnesota may enact similar town ordinances.

According to one of the town’s city council members, he is “concerned” about the number of former offenders living in his town. While there does not appear to be a large recidivism rate in the town, he assumes that having 74 registered sex offenders in the town is dangerous. What he fails to address, however, is that a variety of offenses will land someone on a sex offender registry. Anything from a brutal rape down to high school sweethearts engaging in consensual sex when one of the teenagers is above and one below the age of consent.

The council member’s proposal is expected to be heard in mid-August.

Source: The Lafayette Advertiser, “Sulphur may raise fees on sex offenders,” July 15, 2013

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