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Old 01-30-2005, 07:14 PM
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Default State site to display sex offenders' photos

http://www.detnews.com/2005/metro/0501/30/B01-73903.htm

State site to display sex offenders' photos

Some worry the effort will vilify the wrongly accused and young lovers.

By Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News



Sex offender registry


• Michigan will join 39 other states in adding photos to its online sex offender registry beginning in May.

• Supporters of the photos say it will help the public better identify dangerous sexual predators.

• Opponents say the list has numerous people who are not a threat to the community.

• There are 36,068 offenders on the sex offender registry.


The state will begin posting pictures of convicted sex offenders on its online sex offender registry list beginning in May, which will be a blessing to some but a curse to others.

Posting the photos is designed to increase public safety by helping residents identify potentially dangerous sex offenders in situations where a name may not be readily available, such as someone striking up a conversation in a park or other public place.

But many people say Michigan's sex offender list includes people who are not a threat to society, such as young lovers or young people whose records were cleared through a state program, yet are still named on the registry. For those people who are lumped in with pedophiles and rapists, the addition of photos alongside their names will create an even bigger nightmare beyond what they have already endured.

Clinton Township resident Amber Pollick, 19, lobbied the Michigan Legislature with her family to help pass a law to post the photos.

"I knew by doing this it would help prevent someone from going through what I went through," Pollick said.

Pollick was 14 when she was on vacation in Florida and raped by her uncle. He was convicted in the Florida courts but set free to return to his Grosse Isle home while awaiting an appeal. It was during that time, Pollick said, that other victims came forward. She thought photos on the sex offender registry might help others avoid her uncle, who is now in a Florida prison for his crime.

Her father, Mark Pollick, got the idea from Florida's sex offender registry, which is among 39 state sites that feature photos.

"I thought, 'why can't we do the same thing here in Michigan?' " Mark Pollick said. "Here we got this guy running around the streets, and I think people ought to know what the heck he looks like."

State Rep. Leon Drolet, R-Clinton Township, was among the lawmakers who supported adding photos to the registry because it also helps safeguard people who might buy a home in a neighborhood where a previous sex offender had lived. Also, if residents can see the face of a sex offender, they might not inadvertently label the wrong person as a sex offender. Other proponents say including a photo could ensure that an innocent person with the same or similar name will not be confused with a registered sex offender.

"It was passed as much to protect an innocent person as it was to help identify neighborhood sex offenders," Drolet said.

For people who are not a threat to society and are still on the list, pictures on the sex offender registry will likely make their life even worse.

Among them is Kevin Connelly, 22, who was prosecuted at 18 over a relationship he had with a 15-year-old girl. Connelly said they didn't have sex. He spent two months in jail and is now on the sex offender registry for 25 years.

"I looked at it more like experimenting with things that kids often do in high school," said Connelly, who lives with his parents in Monroe County.

Connelly is now a college student but has already written off several careers because he knows he can't pursue professions like teaching or social work while on the sex offender registry. With his picture up, it's going to compound the situation , he said.

"It's just so unfair," he said. "I think there should be a sex offender list but not for people like me who had high school romances."

Set up in the 1960s, the act gives young people a chance to expunge their record, but it doesn't shield them from the sex offender registry.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the photos of convicted sex offenders could be posted on Internet registries.

But adding pictures is problematic because Michigan's sex offender registry doesn't differentiate between people who are a threat to the public and those who are not. Ohio's registry, for instance, features photos but has a three-tiered system to give the public a better sense of who is most a threat to the community.

"It's not unconstitutional," said Kary Moss, director of the ACLU of Michigan, "but we do have concerns about the vigilante mentality and the potential risks to the families of the people on the list."

The Michigan Legislature, aware that some people on the sex offender registry are not considered predators, also passed a series of laws last year that allows these people to petition the court to reduce their time on the registry to 10 years instead of 25.

The change was an improvement, but not by much, said Martin Blum, a Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer.

"It's a cruel irony," Blum said. "If the underlying offense that required their registration has been dismissed, then the requirement for them to register as sex offenders should be gone with it."

Public notification of the release of a sex offender has been a federal requirement since passage in 1996 of Megan's Law, named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was raped and murdered by a child molester living in her New Jersey neighborhood.

Since the mid-1990s, Michigan has required sex offenders to register their addresses with police for 25 years. Then, the information was only available to police. But with passage of Megan's Law, the list became public through local police offices.

By the mid-1990s, the entire list went up on the Internet, making it easy for citizens to find out the names and addresses of people in their neighborhood convicted of a sex offense.

But those familiar with sex offender registries say they only offer charges, and the stories behind them can be much tamer than what meets the eye.

"The registry in general is very misleading to the public," said Matthew Rosenberg, a Southfield-based psychotherapist who works with sex offenders and victims. "It gives them a false sense of security because they know which sex offenders live in their neighborhoods, when meanwhile, truly the people most likely to abuse their children are people they know like an uncle, a parent or a babysitter."

"I thought, 'why can't we do the same thing here in Michigan?' "


You can reach Kim Kozlowski at (313) 222-2024 or kkozlowski@detnews.com.
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Old 01-30-2005, 07:29 PM
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I knew this was coming. I'm not against registry, however I am against the registry the way it stands...

[/quote]But those familiar with sex offender registries say they only offer charges, and the stories behind them can be much tamer than what meets the eye.[quote]

In MOST cases this is just the opposite of the above quote. In 99.9% of cases involving children, the offender is not a stranger listed on the internet, they are someone close to the home and family. Adding pictures is not going to make our children safer because its not those who are ON that registry that we need to be wary of. Michigan needs to change their registry laws so that those like the 18 year olds who had sex with their 16 year old girlfriend, those who truly ARE innocent, and others who are deemed not dangerous can live some sort of life and not be hounded by people who are fed all kinds of the WRONG information in a media frenzy.

OK.. off my soap box.
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Old 01-30-2005, 07:32 PM
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Disgusting. The magnification of the continued witch hunt will only hurt many innocents as well as many many family members....

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Old 01-31-2005, 06:52 AM
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Among them is Kevin Connelly, 22, who was prosecuted at 18 over a relationship he had with a 15-year-old girl. Connelly said they didn't have sex. He spent two months in jail and is now on the sex offender registry for 25 years.
This is what makes me sick about the registry. Why should this young man go his WHOLE life looking over his shoulder. And now to have to post his picture too............this is outrageous.

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Old 01-31-2005, 12:03 PM
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i understand the registry but i think this is unfair and this will hurt family members of sex offenders and some sex offenders who are innocent and like deb said a continued witch hunt don't they know or care how many families this will have a effect on their privacy will be no more this really disgust me
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:37 PM
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I belive some people may take it a bit extreme like a witch hunt. Some states want to put some kind of display on the license plates. It is a burden(for them and family and friends) having it on you record for the rest of you life. Now they want pictures. I think it has its goods and bads.
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Old 05-09-2007, 07:21 PM
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I understand that there are people who we need to keep our families safe from. Truly I do. I don't see how the registry can do it though. If someone is truly a pedophile and wants to do something to one of my children, they are not going to do something in front of me so I can say "hey, I saw that person's picture . . .". I need to be as careful as I can be and try to walk that fine line so that I'm not too overprotective. It is my understanding that most commonly it is someone you know so perhaps you can't be too careful but again, my seeing that picture will not protect me or my children in my opinion.

What it will do is make it so someone who had a high school romance, got on the list, but now it is 15 years later can't go on a field trip with his child for her school because he's on the list and because all the parents will be in an uproar. That man doesn't want to molest an 8 year old just because when he was 18 he had sex with a 15 year old who he was dating and she wasn't technically old enough to consent. Now his wife and his children and all of the people who care about him have to deal with the aftermath of his high school sex life? That is sooooooo unfair in my mind.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:43 AM
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When my friend (ILOVEDEASY) boyfriend was released in Nov, his registry had his picture on it. again in NOVEMBER. They took his photo right off his driver's licsense. And of course, he is on parole (so he cant have internet access) he would never had known if i didnt tell him!

I dont understand why this article is just coming out if there were pictures available in November.

Also, I agree with those stated about...truly innocent and "statutory rape" cases (some not all) should be reevaluated and "resentenced" on the registry tip.
OH and do you know that now a person can sign up to have the SO registry EMAILED TO THEM when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood? Paid for by SO's on parole (an extra 5 per month on restitution). I found that out in December and was sickend.
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ilovecharles
When my friend (ILOVEDEASY) boyfriend was released in Nov, his registry had his picture on it. again in NOVEMBER. They took his photo right off his driver's licsense. And of course, he is on parole (so he cant have internet access) he would never had known if i didnt tell him!

I dont understand why this article is just coming out if there were pictures available in November.

Also, I agree with those stated about...truly innocent and "statutory rape" cases (some not all) should be reevaluated and "resentenced" on the registry tip.
OH and do you know that now a person can sign up to have the SO registry EMAILED TO THEM when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood? Paid for by SO's on parole (an extra 5 per month on restitution). I found that out in December and was sickend.
The article is from 2005. This is an old thread. Under the new Federal Law, the Adam Walsh Act, License plate numbers from all vehicles operated will also be posted plus your place of employment. Michigan will have to comply or lose Federal funding
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