A Modest Registry Proposal

Let me be clear – I believe the Sex Offense Registry should cease to exist. However, it seems most of the larger Registrant advocacy groups have abandoned hope of a world without a registry. The registry continues to destroy lives so long as it exists, but if there is no way to fully abolish the registry, can we at least modify the existing registry to balance temper the unlimited use of the Registry?

There have been nearly 200 murders directly tied to the Sex Offense Registry and an untold number of other crimes. (My Crimes Against Registrants Database/ CARD mostly lists only those offenses reported in the media and with few exceptions, does not cover unreported offenses.) The May 2020 murder of a Registrant in Omaha, Nebraska has led to public support for a man who used the registry and info from a Facebook vigilante group to commit his crime. Registry information has been used for murder, assault, extortion, robbery, harassment, and vandalism against Registered Persons, their loved ones, and even innocent people merely mistaken for someone accused or convicted of a sex offense.

If the Registry must continue to exist, then this sensitive data of Registered Persons should not be given out so freely. Below are a few modest proposals, most based of my old “Stop Vigilante Violence and Websites Act of 2010” proposal I made a decade ago. While I believe that the registry should not exist in ANY form whatsoever, these modest changes to the registry would lead to a decrease of registry-inspired crimes.

  1. Remove Registry from the Internet and establish registry kiosks at police stations: Those seeking to use the public registry would have to go to a local police station to access the database and sign in using their real names (presumably by creating their account using a State ID/ DL card). This database could be used to find potential suspects in the event of a vigilante attack against a Registered Person.

  2. Create the crime of “Misuse of Registry Data During the Commission of Crime”: There should be a separate statute specifically for the crime of misuse of the registry in every state/ territory and in federal law. This statute would appear in bold type on the registry kiosk as part of the terms of use to be agreed upon before the registry can be accessed. This statute carries an additional penalty for the crime of using registry data in the commission of an offense and is an aggravating circumstance to be used during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial. If the offense is murder, then the aggravated circumstance makes the sentence enhancement a capital offense.

  3. Make registry info illegal to reproduce online: Make it illegal to post registry info on social media (Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, etc.,), in mugshot magazines, and private registry services (Family Watchdog, HomeFacts, City-Data, SORArchives, etc.).

  4. Establish a law to make it easier for victims of vigilante violence to take perpetrators to civil court: Right now, it is far too easy for vigilante and vigilante groups to harass, threaten, and intimidate Registered Persons and their loves ones using technology, and it is difficult to gain the records necessary to reveal the identity of attackers due to the amount of court intervention it takes to get IP and phone records. There should be a more easily devised process by which victims of vigilantes can obtain data on those engaging in internet crimes.

  5. Remove individual registry info from Google and similar search engines: Right now, a handful of states, including Florida, Nebraska, and Texas, allow registry data to be searched through a simple Web Browser search.

While my true desire is the abolishment of the sex offense registry, these very modest proposals would at least increase protections for Registered Persons and their loved ones from vigilante attacks.

Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com

4 comments for “A Modest Registry Proposal

  1. Dustin
    July 28, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Don’t think I’m on board with this one.

    1. Separate kiosks in every police station will never happen, but I do think that there should be a sign in procedure for anyone who wants to view the local registry there, part of which an acknowledgement that the signatures will be used to investigate any crime in which a registrant was the victim.

    2. I doubt any legislature would create a crime like “Misuse of Registry Data” because crimes and discrimination against registrants is pretty much exactly how they expect the data to be used, regardless or what they may claim. I WOULD like to see someone specifically define exactly what the PROPER use of the data is, rather than just meaningless rhetoric about how any given community is supposedly safer simply because the registry exists.

    3. Reproducing registry info online will never be illegal, nor should it be. Freedom of speech issues there. It’s idiotic to pay any company to give you the info you could get for free, but if there are idiots willing to pay it, that’s their business. A registrant’s name and crime of conviction is already public information, and if they want it that much, let them go to the courthouse to get (and pay for, in many cases) it themselves. If they’re not willing to do that, it’s probably not that important to them. Addresses and workplaces are more a privacy issue, and if THAT gets reproduced, the registrant should be able to sue whoever reproduced it.

    4. I don’t think the problem is so much the issues around vigilante victims suing their assailants is really procedural as much as the court system’s bias against registrants in general. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s possible to write a law to counteract that. Look at all the other civil rights cases where something is clearly unconstitutional on its face, yet somehow perfectly acceptable when done to registrants. This strikes me more as a problem with judicial activism than law.

    5. There’s simply no escaping Google. Even if Google went down tomorrow, something else would replace it the next day.

    Wholeheartedly agree that the registry needs to be abolished en totem. I don’t see how compromise is possible regarding the registry. To say it’s better or acceptable within limits or under certain circumstances or with certain individuals is saying that it has value and purpose, which it does not. The only potential compromise that I can fathom (and I’m still not all that certain about it) is strictly LE only, provided THEY create and maintain it without any obligations or responsibilities whatsoever imposed on the registrant. There are plenty of databases they could pull from, and do so uninvasively. But I very seriously doubt any would, because the registry is absolutely worthless for investigating new crimes (less registry violations). It’s only purpose now is the harassment of and discrimination against those on it, by LE in particular.

    I’ve spoken with Derek several times, and appreciate him and his effort more than I could possible tell him. But I think efforts to make the registry more tolerable are wasted. Not because of him, but because of the society and political idiots that insist on keeping this insanity in place.

  2. Jon
    August 11, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    It is a place to start. Once we get feet in the door, we can shoot for the bigger picture and get the registry abolished.

    • DC
      August 28, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Must be what their Lawyers are telling you.

  3. Frank
    September 1, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    The above proposals sound good. One would think that common sense would dictate most of these proposals. However, as long as there is hatred in the minds/hearts of those that make the legal statutes, those that enforce the legal statutes, and those that interpret the legal statues in case law, then none of these common sense proposals will become a bill or law. More blood will be spilled.

Comments are closed.