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VA - Sex Offender Registry: Some say it goes too far

But what about those not caught and not on the registry, who may decide to sexually abuse your child? How will you know about them? You won't, until it's too late! 90% or more of all sexual crimes committed today, are by those NOT on a registry.

News Article

Is it a justifiable punishment, or the new scarlet letter? For years, there's been debate about online sex offender registries like the one here in Virginia. Some who are on it say it's ruined their chance of ever turning their lives around. Others say 'Don't do the sex crime, if you aren't willing to serve the online face time.'

CBS 6 sat down with a registered sex offender. He's asked us not to call him by his real name so, for our report, we'll call him Aaron. "It's the modern day scarlet letter," Aaron told our cameras. The scarlet letter he says he wears is the letter 'S', for sex offender. "Before I was ever convicted, I was already sentenced," he continued.

Aaron's story started a few years ago. The Richmond man said the incident that landed him behind bars happened at home on his computer. He thought he was chatting with a teenage girl, but in actuality he was communicating with a police officer. Aaron went to jail and admits what he did was wrong. He feels that the state's sex offender registry goes too far. "You don't put the pictures of murderers, drunk drivers, or drug dealers on the registry, why me?" Aaron said in an interview with our station on Wednesday. CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone says what started out as a good idea a few years ago may now cross the line. He says, "Are we doing more harm then good when we're putting all types of offenses on the internet instead of just the ones where they might reoffend? Is the site being watered down instead of doing what it originally intended to do?"

Regardless of some people's opinions, Sgt. Robert Holland says with 2.5 million hits on the state's website a year, it's informing the public. "People go to the website to find out who their babysitter is, or their neighbor, or even a potential daycare provider, so I think the site helps families gain knowledge."

For Aaron though, he says he did the crime and served the time. But he says he is forced to re-live his ordeal every day because of the website, "It's a life sentence, I have to live in the shadows forever."

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Added: Jul-30-2009 Occurred On: Jul-30-2009
By: SexOffenderIssues
In:
News, Other
Tags: sex, sexual, offender, issues, sex offender, sexual offender, virginia, scarlet letter,
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