Sex offender list may increase. Kidnappers with intent to commit sexual crime may be added.
October 10, 2000
SALT LAKE CITY: The Utah Sentencing Commission may expand the
state's sex-offender registry to include the names of kidnappers.
The commission has discussed draft legislation that would place on the
registry the names of people who committed kidnappings with the intent to
commit a sexual offense.
The registry already includes the names of people convicted of felony and
some misdemeanor sex offenses.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in August upheld a 1998 law allowing
the names to be listed on a website.
Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said it will take a few
more weeks before all of the 4,400 sex offenders are listed on the site. He
said he doubts the addition of kidnappers would expand the list very much.
"I see a very small number, fewer than a hundred," he said.
Prisoner advocates are critical of the proposal.
"There's already such a wide range" of sex offenders included in the
database, said Marianne Johnstone, director of the Prisoner Information
Network, "from a guy who got drunk and exposed himself once to the
died-in-the- wool pedophile."
Johnstone also questioned how the courts would determine if a kidnapping
was sexually motivated.
Members of the commission also questioned how a convicted kidnapper's
"intent to commit a sexual offense" would be determined.
The commission chose not to vote on approval of the draft and referred it
back to a commission subcommittee for further study.