Ex Sex Offenders Want Restrictions Lifted

June 15, 2010

dispatch.com: Sex offenders want restrictions lifted- Sheriffs not reacting yet to court’s ruling.

Some sex offenders are calling sheriff’s offices and demanding that their pictures and addresses be removed from online listings.

But sheriffs are being told not to alter anything (by the Ohio Attorney General’s office, we are told) while lawyers and prosecutors work to determine the fallout from a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision.

The justices ruled that six tiers of sex offenders sentenced before Jan. 1, 2008, improperly were reclassified into three federally mandated tiers that have tougher reporting and registration requirements.

The court’s mandate to Ohio’s attorney general to reclassify the affected sex offenders means some offenders no longer will need to register or report to sheriff’s offices.

For example, under the state’s Megan’s Law classifications, the lowest-level offenders – sexually oriented and child-victim oriented – were required to register their addresses annually for 10 years.

The adoption of the federal Adam Walsh Act guidelines beginning in 2008 then required many of those same sex criminals to report their addresses for 15 years and to report in-person to a sheriff’s office once a year.

Now, thousands of Ohio’s 26,000 sex offenders will be shifted back to the 10-year registration, meaning an undetermined number no longer will have to register and are to be removed from offender listings.

There currently are about 3,600 sex offenders registered in Franklin and surrounding counties. No sheriffs yet had good guesses on how many will be freed from reporting requirements.

“We’re going to lose some people, and there will be decreased community notification,” said Steve Martin, chief deputy of the Franklin County sheriff’s office. The office has seven employees keeping an eye on 2,591 offenders.

Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen has heard public concern about the coming impact of the court ruling, but he reminded the public that the worst offenders, those classified as sexual predators and child-victim predators, will be unaffected.

Under both Megan’s Law and the Adam Walsh Act, those offenders are under lifetime registration requirements and are required to report in-person to a sheriff’s office every 90 days.

Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, has been fielding calls from sheriffs who say that some sex offenders are citing the court ruling and insisting they be freed from reporting requirements.

Cornwell has advised the sheriffs to do nothing until they hear from their county prosecutors. The attorney general’s office has no estimate of when its reclassification work will be complete and offenders notified.

“I’d rather have the offender mad at the sheriff than the public,” Cornwell said.

This final statement should make every affected registrant very angry. Mr. Cornwell, you should be very afraid of these offenders, as they are the ones who will be filing lawsuits against you and the Ohio Attorney General for failure to comply with the Supreme Court decision.

Contact Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association:
6230 Busch Blvd Suite 260
Columbus, OH 43229
614-431-5500 , Fax 614-431-5665

Contact the Ohio Attorney General Office here:
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, 30 E. Broad St., 17th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215
(800) 282-0515 ….. or….. 1-866-40-OHLEG (1-866-406-4534)
Call Justin Hykes Assistant Attorney General directly at:

Ohio Attorney General Office Media Contacts:
Kim Kowalski: (614) 728-9692, cell: (614) 893-6018
Ted Hart: Deputy Director of Media Relations
PHONE 614-728-4127, cell: (614) 743-2286
EMAIL ted.hart@ohioattorneygeneral.gov

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