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09-11-06, 11:23 AM #1
Sex Offender Sues Va. to Keep Name off Web
By Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 11, 2006; B01
John Doe is 31 years old, received degrees in philosophy and psychology from the University of Mary Washington and is an aquatics coach in the Washington area.
He does not want you to know his name or that when he was about 18 he was convicted of having sex with his 14-year-old sister. The sex started, police said, when she was in second grade.
Now that Virginia's online sex offender registry has been expanded to include all sex offenders -- not just those considered violent -- people such as Doe are being told that they must register or face arrest. That means that their names, photos and professions will be posted on the Internet amid the rapists and child molesters already there. Hidden under the cloak of a pseudonym, Doe is taking the fight to court.
Today, Doe's attorney will stand on one side of a Prince William County courtroom, asking a judge to allow him to remain anonymous and safe from arrest. On the other, attorneys for the defendants -- the county and the state -- will argue that the public has a right to know who Doe is and where he lives and works. And that he was convicted of incest, a misdemeanor.
"The whole purpose of the registry is public notification and tracking," said Sandra Sylvester, a Prince William prosecutor. "From our point of view, it's not the ones we know about, the ones who are compliant, that worry us. It's the ones we don't know."
Although the registry requirements changed in 2003 to include incest, it wasn't until this year that the information was to be made public online. In July, Doe filed suit.
"Any requirement for Mr. Doe to register as a sex offender now, more than eleven years after his conviction, would not serve the community in the fashion that the legislators intended," his attorney, Melinda VanLowe, argued in court papers. "The registry would severely damage Mr. Doe's ability to maintain or gain employment, his standing in the community and general livelihood, causing irreparable injury that cannot be compensated by monetary damages." VanLowe would not comment further.
On the registry's Web site is this disclosure: "Effective July 1, 2006, this website will contain information on all sex offenders required to be registered in the Commonwealth, both classifications of offenders, the violent sexual offender and the sexual offender."
County and state officials said they predict that many more nonviolent offenders will challenge the stricter regulation.
Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said it is unfortunate that a registry is needed. But with the high recidivism rate among sex offenders, he said, awareness is a community's best protection.
"The question becomes: Do you let the feelings of a convicted sex offender outweigh the safety of Virginia citizens?" Martin said. "Law enforcement must work in the world we live in, not in the world that we wish we had."
Since July, Virginia State Police have added the names of about 2,800 nonviolent sex offenders to the online database, Lt. Thomas W. Turner said.
The agency, which administers the registry, is also creating a 45-member unit dedicated to ensuring that all sex offenders comply with the law. Turner estimates that at any time, 1,300 sex offenders are noncompliant, and his office often fields "outraged" calls from people reporting an offender in their community.
"It's not a matter of wanting to know," Turner said. "They are demanding to know."
Randi Lanzafama, deputy chief probation and parole officer for Prince William, said that even before the new regulations, her office had treated nonviolent sex offenders the same as violent ones.
"Everybody wants to know, 'Are these guys never going to re-offend?' " she said. "I can't ever say they won't. But I believe in what we do, and I believe we give them the opportunity to change, if they want to."
Doe pleaded guilty to incest in February 1994. According to an arrest warrant at the time, his sister told police that for seven years she and her brother had engaged in a variety of sexual acts, including intercourse.
In April 1994, a judge sentenced Doe to 90 days in jail, with all of it suspended if he stayed out of trouble and got counseling. In March 1995, Doe fulfilled his obligations and was released from probation.
Doe's sister wrote a letter of support for her brother to Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert, saying that she and her brother received counseling and that she is doing well in life. She is a lawyer and is married with two young children.
"We have resolved our issues and maintain a close relationship often sharing in large family holidays and vacations," she wrote of her brother in May. "He is an important part of my family."
She described him as an "excellent uncle" to her children, saying she doesn't fear leaving them with him.
"I have healed from what happened to me as a child and continue to grow despite it," she wrote.
Their mother also wrote a letter, saying the two "enjoy a normal brother sister relationship in the family."
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
09-11-06, 11:31 AM #2
poor little sex offenderAny Post I make is my opinion only!
I do not have the authority or the permission to post for my Sheriff's Office.
09-11-06, 12:02 PM #3CopsRCool302 Guest
sick world we live in. why in the world would she let him stay around her own kids? sick, sick sick!
09-11-06, 12:03 PM #4
"Stupid should hurt."
09-11-06, 01:32 PM #5
My heart bleeds for the poor man......NOT!!!!
He is sick and should be there just like everyone else. Now lets see is he gets a good jusge or a bleeding heart liberal."An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper
Some people are meant to be the police......Some people are meant to call the police!!!
"Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don't need it and hell where they already have it."
" I believe that forgiving them (Terrorist) is God's function. OUR job is to arrange the meeting."
General Norman Schwartzkopf
Not all Muslims are Terrorists, but all Terrorists are Muslim.
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