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Proposed law would allow convicted sex offenders to hide in plain sight

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Thirty-five attorneys general throughout the nation, including Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have banded together in opposition to a proposal by the American Law Institute (ALI) that would put an end to sex offender registries, notifying communities of a sex offender’s presence, and restricting their places of residence.

You read that right: the ALI wants to do away with sex offender registries.

Although a proposal of this nature has yet to pass through the legislature in Washington, several attempts have already been made to integrate these policies in our communities. In early 2023, residents of Enumclaw were outraged upon finding out that convicted sex offenders were to be housed in their community without so much as a notification to local government officials or residents. Now, the State Sex Offender Policy Board is considering recommending the state legislature enact policies that would make it illegal – not just optional – to notify residents when a sex offender moves into their community, because it allegedly “undermines public safety.”

The proposal states that current laws do not reduce recidivism rates and “rarely lead individuals to take meaningful precautions to protect themselves.” The document also purports that the restrictions on sex offenders currently in place create a “false sense of security and divert attention from more significant sexual dangers, increasing risk to the public.” The proposal believes the state should instead focus on “reintegration, social support, stable living, [and] steady employment.”

Critics of the proposal – of which there are many – concur that modifications to current laws would leave victims and children at risk. The bipartisan coalition of attorneys general believe proposals like ALI’s and the State Sex Offender Policy Board’s would “weaken the ability to prosecute sexual assault, abuse, exploitation, and trafficking crimes; jeopardize the safety of victims of these crimes; and restrict the ability of law enforcement to protect the general public from recidivist behavior.”

Ultimately, if it comes down to making convicted sex offenders more comfortable in society, or protecting children and victims from abuse, our elected officials have an obligation to prioritize the latter. In modern America, every self-proclaimed “minority,” such as so-called “Minor Attracted Persons” – aka, pedophiles – are claiming victimhood and demanding extra protections under the law as a “protected class.” Meanwhile, our actually vulnerable populations, like women, children and victims of crimes, are not only ignored and neglected, but are subjected to new rules and regulations that open the door for continued victimization. This proposal is one of those cases.

“Not only do these proposed changes completely disregard the victims of these atrocious crimes, they also leave open the opportunity for those previously convicted of these crimes to hide in plain sight while continuing to seek access to children to perpetrate hands-on offenses,” the letter reads.

We encourage you to reach out to members of the State Sex Offender Policy Board and voice your strong opposition to “sentencing alternatives” and “less restrictive alternative practices,” two of their current projects that will likely result in policy recommendations to the state legislature. You can find a list of SOPB members here.

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