STATEHOUSE—A bill authored by State Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte), and co-authored by State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), concerning the sex offender registry passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 92-0 and now moves to the Senate. House Bill (HB) 1204 retains the information on sex offenders on the sex offender registry and public portal.
HB 1204 would keep all information from being purged from the sex offender registry which is available to law enforcement and continue to display the information on the public portal.
“Sex offenders should never completely fall off the grid,” said Rep. Dermody. “We need to protect potential victims, and the best way to do that is to preserve information that can be used by private citizens and law enforcement.”
“There are times when previous information can be applied to current investigations and keeping sex offenders’ information on the public portal could be vital to a case,” said Rep. Steuerwald. “If having access to previous information can help law enforcement solve cases faster, we can get help to victims faster.”
HB 1204 also protects people in lawful detention. If a public employee is convicted of engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual conduct with a person in custody, the public employee would be added to the sex offender registry.
HB 1204 would allow those charged with a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ relationship to appeal the court to have their information removed from the registry. HB 1204 will also create a summer study committee to further examine which individuals charged with certain sex offenses should remain on the registry.
“Individuals such as police officers, corrections officers or teachers are in positions of power over those in their custody. If they abuse that power and commit a sex crime against those in their charge, they belong on the sex offender registry,” said Rep. Dermody.
“We all put a large amount of trust in any individual in a position of authority,” Rep. Steuerwald said. “We want to make sure there are clear penalties for those who take advantage of their authority and the individual in their custody.”