Sex offenders in Missouri can now petition for registry removal

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COLUMBIA - Starting Tuesday, Missouri law will allow sex offenders to petition for their removal from the state registry list.

Governor Parson signed Senate Bill 655 in July and it goes into effect Tuesday. The new provision also creates a tier system that would categorize the intensity of the crime.

Boone County Sheriff's Department Major Tom Reddin said even though Tuesday is when the law goes into effect, he estimates it could be months, even a year, before any sex offenders get removed from the list, if any at all.

"It does not mean people are going to be automatically be dropped from the list," Reddin said. 

He said the offender would have to be compliant for 15 years before the offender can start a petition to the court.

One Columbia mom, Molly Myer, said while she believes in second chances, sex offenders are a different story.

"I also believe there are some acts that can cause more harm, and are greater in nature than others," Myer said.

She said this reminds her of what she teaches her kids about consequences, they can stick with you forever.

Reddin said parents shouldn't be concerned because the process for removal won't be easy to do.

"The court has to order it, it can't just be a matter of 'Hey, I've been good for this period of time take me off the list,' there has to be a court finding and an order to remove somebody," Reddin said.

One Columbia therapist, Ric Doubet, used to work for the Department of Corrections dealing with sex offenders. He said most sex offenders he's worked with were usually sexually abused themselves.

"Perverse sexual appetite is not natural, trauma creates a shock and a whole 'nother circuit," Doubet said.

Doubet said he doesn't see sex offenders truly changing.

"They can abstain from these actions, but not truly change," Doubet said.

Reddin argues the registry is not protecting anyone anyway - it's an information tool.

"The reality is the registry doesn't protect anyone at all," Reddin said. "If sex offenders are going to act, they're going to do so,"

Myer said in the 21st century the public wants this information and sex offenders shouldn't be allowed to remove sex offender from their history.