Texas registry gets an “F”

By Eric Dexheimer…..

 

Mark Lay had been a registered sex offender for more than five years before he heard there might be a way to erase his name from the public Texas list.

Convicted in 2008 of a single count of possessing child pornography, he was released early from a two-year sentence, classified by the state as a low-risk re-offender. But he’d been told the rest of his sentence — lifetime inclusion on the Texas sex offender registry — was permanent.

A data analyst in Houston, Lay said being on the public list has prevented him from getting hired and finding places to live. “It has been the only reason I can’t assimilate back into society,” he said. So two years ago, when he happened upon a mention of what Texas law calls “deregistration,” he started making calls.

Texas started its sex offender registry 20 years ago as a way for the public and police to monitor a group of criminals believed to be virtually incapable of rehabilitation and thus likely to commit additional sex crimes. Since then, however, many studies have concluded that it is uncommon for sex offenders — particularly those who, like Lay, are designated as low-risk — to commit new offenses.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, more than 90 percent of the state’s registered sex offenders are not considered to be at high risk of re-offending.

Yet the registry is like a cemetery: Because many offenders are placed on it for a lifetime, or at least decades, it only expands in size. Over the past five years, Texas has added new names to the list at a rate of nearly a dozen every day.

In 2011, Texas began a so-called deregistration process. The intent was to remove those who were unlikely to re-offend from the list and, in so doing, save taxpayers money. By focusing police attention on truly dangerous offenders, it would also improve public safety.

By that measure, however, the program has been a bust. In the 5 1/2 years it has been in existence, only 58 sex offenders have been permitted to deregister from the Texas list — less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the current registry.

“At the current rate,” said Aaron Pierce, a Waco psychologist and sex offender expert who consulted on the law, “it will take forever to clean up the registry.”

Read the rest of the article, including what Brenda has to say, at the Austin American Statesman.

9 comments for “Texas registry gets an “F”

  1. Colleen
    December 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    My son met a girl 15 almost 16 online he had just turned 20..yep lots of trouble…it would be the greatest for the states to file class action suite to fight these dumb clump everyone together laws. My son deserves consequences for his actions but to have to register as a sex offender is cruel punishment. There was no aggravated nothing to his case. Each case should be treated individual and punishment accordingly. Any other texas moms in same shoes? Is this even a possibility?

  2. Colleen
    December 2, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Okay..so somebody please explain why all the crime in our world and sex crimes are all put into one bucket…i get so angry with all the bull and murders are,getting off..thugs that sell drugs to our kids get off lightly even if the kid dies from the drugs bought from the adult…my son met a,girl on line had a,relationship and her mother pushed to have him register..yes,we found out after she was 15 he was 20…he,messed up..very bad choice..but that does not make him a,sex offender and this same girl is back on internet going at it again..my son was not her first time….just….GRRRRR

  3. Jay
    August 17, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I pled guilty to a crime that I didn’t commit in 1993. The crime that is shown along with my picture is aggravated criminal sexual abuse 1st degree. This is not the crime that the prosecutor told me that I was pleading guilty to. 1st of all, my stepdaughter was taken to a doctor by DCFS. The doctor told them that she had NOT been touched. DCFS ruled the case “Unfounded” and stepped out of the picture. I was 21 years old at the time and being threatened with up to 30 years in prison, my wife and small children being grilled on the witness stand, my entire family suffering public ridicule if I didn’t plead guilty. I told the prosecutor that I didn’t do anything to plead guilty to. They are some sneaky, dirty pieces of crap. The female prosecutor told me that if I would plead guilty, that I would be pleading guilty to a lesser crime. She took a pencil and scratched out part of the charge and wrote something else in. When she had finished it read “Sexual assault without penetration”. I wouldn’t spend a signal day in prison, serve 3 years on probation, and register as a sex offender. So, I figured that if it would keep my family from getting ridiculed and embarrassed, and all that I had to do is 3 years probation, I would go ahead and plead guilty to a crime that I didn’t commit. Biggest mistake of my entire life. I completed my 3 years probation and court ordered counseling, after which, my counselor wrote a letter to the court that said that in her opinion I didn’t commit this crime or any other. My step daughter also went to counseling. Her counselor’s recommendations were to allow me to return to the home, because my step daughter was more traumatized and upset that her daddy wasn’t home and in her professional opinion and from what she had heard thru counseling my step daughter, nothing inappropriate had ever happened. I was allowed to return to the home with my family. Everything started to go good for me and my family and we decided to leave Chicago and move back to my home in Alabama. After moving, I received a letter from the local sheriff’s office asking me to come in to the courthouse. They asked me if I would mind letting them take a picture of me for their private sex offender list. I agreed to and filled out a questionnaire which asked such questions as my address, who lived in the home with me and their ages, where I worked, and so on. We lived in Alabama for approx 5 years then moved to Kentucky where my wife’s mother and sister lived. We lived there for 6 years and never had anymore problems until we moved again to Alabama. I was arrested two weeks after moving back and charged with failure to register as a sex offender. My wife informed them that I had already completed everything that was ordered for me to do by the court. She was told that the laws had changed and because I didn’t go in and register within 7 days of moving to Alabama, I was in violation of the sexual offender registration law plus I was going to go to prison for illegal living in a home with my children. When she was informed by my wife that I did register here the last time we lived here and the sheriff’s dept was aware that I lived in the home with my wife and children including my step daughter, the alleged victim. My wife was called a liar. When the stupid bitch actually went and pulled the file, all that she had to say is that somebody screwed up and that was never supposed to happen. When my wife tried to explain to the lady, and I use that term very loosely, the lady said that the laws had changed since then and even though I had never been told that i would ever be required to register, that I now had to register every 3 months for the rest of my life. She also said that I couldn’t return to my home because my youngest son was a minor and I was not allowed to live in a home with a minor. My youngest son was 16 years old and wasn’t even born when all this bs started. My wife said ok, I’m sure that my husband will do what he needs to do to abide within the law, no matter how asinine these laws were to be enforced on him nearly 20 years after he has completed every single requirement that the court had ordered him to. The officer told my wife that it is my responsibility to keep up with the laws as they changed. My wife said ok and asked what time that she could pick me up. The lady said,”Oh no. I’m going to keep him here for awhile to teach him a lesson.”. When my wife said,”Teach him a lesson for what? He didn’t know that he was doing anything wrong.” She was told that if she didn’t shut her mouth and get the hell out of there, that she was going to be locked up too. They kept me there for 2 weeks and upon my release I had to have my drivers license changed to one that had criminal sex offender in big red letters on it. I had to live with my brother for two years till my youngest son turned 18. There were flyers mailed to every single home in my community with a picture of me and the charge read Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in The 1st Degree. I have to go to the sheriff’s office every 3 months and pay a fee to register as a sex offender. And what really made my day is that the very same bitch that had me locked up and kept me in jail for 2 weeks for absolutely nothing, is now the sheriff of the county I live in. The rest of my life is ruined because I pled guilty to a crime that I didn’t commit and even though I completed my sentence and did everything the court required me to do, I now have to deal with this shit for the rest of my life because the law changed. Can anyone tell me how this is right in any way? After I completed everything that I was required to, since the law changed nearly 20 years later, I now am serving a life sentence. Isn’t our justice system great.

  4. Anonymous
    August 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I guess I am one of the lucky 58 who managed to get get delisted. It was not easy.

    • jared jenson
      August 13, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Hey there.I am in the process of getting my FBI background check done and send my paperwork off to try deregistration.Can you give me ANY insight on this whole thing? Mine was 2nd degree sexual assault ( I was 19 & my girlfriend was 15) I plead guilty for 10 years deferred adjudication probation & lifetime registration,completed probation in 2010.Now I want to get off the list.

  5. polymath
    July 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Question: Does anyone really think that the TX legislature gives a crap about its registry getting an “F”? Two word answer: Hell No! If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times—registration/registry laws were designed to do just what they are doing: disenfranchise, banish, stigmatize/Scarlett Letter, many say these laws punish the SO but I say they persecute the SO. Many legislators know these laws are unconstitutional, especially when imposed on someone after their conviction and sentence, its called Ex Post Facto. They know these laws violate Due Process, both Substantive and Procedural. They also know these laws violate Equal Protection because only people with sex crimes have a registry/registration. They SO pose a threat to the public and these laws protect the public, but do not robbers, burglars, car thieves, drug dealers, home invaders, people who murder others for money or drugs pose a threat to the public??? I kind’a think they do. So why not a murder’s registry, a robber’s registry, a burglar’s registry, etc., etc.,And you know, I would be real interested to hear any of the TX legislator’s answer to this question. I would bet 5-1 odds you won’t a straight answer, that you will get a bunch of BS! Try asking this question of a TX leg it and see.

  6. Rick
    July 26, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I am 63 and 10 years unemployed, now retired, I have been on the Kansas Sex Registry for nearly 17 years, it was suppose to be for ten years as a plea bargain with no prison time. Kansas changed the law in 2006 and the 10 years was extended for life, retroactively. For me it is a death sentence, instead dying, which I am looking forward to as a release not a punishment, have become a member of the living dead. My health has decline with diabetes, high blood pressure and overweight along with alcoholism and smoking to hasten my death. I am closer to the end then at the beginning and have pity of the ones on the registry that are in their teens and 20’s and have become wasted lives. These registry laws are more destructive than helpful.

  7. mudslide
    July 16, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    until a reicheous angel stands and stops bullets – NOTHINGS GUNNA HAPPEN!!!!!

  8. Fred
    July 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    If Texas is concerned about the registry costing tax payers, they will likely just adopt the same program other states have and require every registrant to pay a 50 to 100 dollar annual fee for the privilege of being on the registry. That is the primary reason why they make it so difficult to be removed and continue to add more people to it for trivial reasons, because its not about keeping anyone safe, it is about making money.

    The registry is an industry of its own and the registrants are the product. Since the creation of the registry, software, internet services, private monitoring groups and much more have been created. We have to stand up, unite and refuse to be used for others gains.

Comments are closed.