Sex Offender Classification Could Change

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JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers talked about a bill Thursday that would change the way sex offenders would be classified in Missouri. Representative Ron Schad, R-Versailles, said this change is necessary for the people and Missouri.  Currently, sex offenders are all grouped in the same category.  Rep. Schad proposes to classify sex offenders into four groups. 

The highest group would be the most serious offenders, and the lowest group would include people convicted of minor offenses.  The proposed bill will put the highest two group's names on the web, which everyone can view.  The lower two would only be on a state law enforcement website that is not available to everyone. 

An offender who is in the highest group would have their names on the website for 20 years, but if they behave and have no more offenses, their name could be removed.  "An assessment board will review all the cases numerous times to make sure there are no inaccuracies," said Schad.

Representative Eileen McGeoghegan, D-St. Louis County, said this type of legislation isn't something the two parties will fight about.

"We both want to help the general public, and both agree the current system doesn't work," said McGeoghegan.

Minnesota has a similar system.  According to Schad, there are fewer than 300 public offenders on the registry in Minnesota. In Missouri, there are more than 13,000.

McGeoghegan said she expects major headway on the proposal next week.