Lawmaker says it may be time to fix Utah’s sex offender registry?

May 16, 2019, 5:36 PM | Updated: 5:44 pm
orem woman shot...

DISCLAIMER: the following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of KSL Newsradio or its ownership.

Bountiful Republican state Sen. Todd Weiler suggests that maybe it’s time to take a closer look at Utah’s sex offender registry and closer match the punishments to the crimes.
Weiller said some people are placed on the registry for public urination and can’t find a way off of it. The convicted person must register for 10 years or for life, depending on the crime.

Weiler joined KSL’s guest host Ethan Millard on the “The JayMac News Show” to explain the politically tricky issue.

“If the [offender] can check certain boxes, if they got counseling, did community service and stayed out of trouble, there ought to be a way to apply for removal. Not for everyone. Not for the violent, or for child rapists, but for some of them with these lesser offenses,” said Weiler.

“If there’s truly a legitimate child rapist in the neighborhood,” said Weiler, “people have a right to know.” But “if you have someone who was in a consensual relationship; they were in college and their girlfriend was in high school, I don’t think that’s necessarily the same as a child rapist.”

But Millard asked, “How do you know if someone’s a permanent danger?”

“We have tools,” said Weiler. “Now anytime someone’s arrested in Utah,” the courts have a risk assessment and “that will decide if they will be eligible for bail and how much their bail is going to be.”

Weller said the purpose of the legislative hearing on Wednesday was to take another look at the punishments on the sex offender registry that make no sense.

Today, Weiler says, a 23-year-old who has consensual sex with a 17-year-old would not land the adult in jail because it’s a 7-year legal window now. But 10 years ago, it would have put the adult in jail and on the registry. So, Weiler asked, should those offenders who are now on the registry for 10 years have a pathway off it today because it’s no longer a crime?

Under the law, that 33-year-old who may be married with children now can’t go to the park with his kids because he’s on the registry.

“Give them a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “There’s no avenue for that now, and that’s why we’re studying the issue.”

“There are people who are saying, “Hey, I’ve got a friend on the registry because they couldn’t find a bathroom. No one can defend that,” said Weiller. “And what about the costs to the taxpayers” because they’re in jail now? he asked.

“Why not this?” asked Millard. “Let’s come up with a meaningful process that really could result in a person dropping off the list. Even the worst offenders could apply, and of course, they wouldn’t get anywhere with it, but at least it would be open. But who would decide” who’s removed from the list?

“The Board of Pardons and Parole or a group analogous to it,” said Weiller.

“As long as these processes are wrapped up with three members of the parole board,” Millard said, “and there are no reporters and no one shows up, any changes that need to be made, are not going to be made,” said Millard. “They’re not politicians, they don’t care about making changes, it’s not what they do.”

Both Millard and Weiller agreed on this point:

“If the sex offender registry doesn’t really reflect people’s attitudes toward the offenses, then it’s not going to be a trustworthy source. It’s robbed of its credibility,” said Millard.

“That’s absolutely true,” Weiler replied.

Today’s Top Stories


Robb Elementary...
Rosa Flores, Rosalina Nieves and Christina Maxouris, CNN

A police officer asked for permission to shoot the Uvalde gunman before he entered the school, but didn’t hear back in time, new report says

According to a new assessment on the handling of the Uvalde school shooting, an officer armed with a rifle spotted the gunman before he entered the school. But was never cleared to fire.
1 day ago
hate crime death penalty...
Curt Gresseth

Polarization is behind US mass shootings, says psychiatrist

A psychiatrist discusses why mental health disorders are not the reason behind mass shootings in America but rather polarization of US society is to blame.
1 day ago
Ogden police car...
Mark Jones

Ogden-Weber Technical College evacuated due to bomb threat; no bomb found

Weber County emergency personnel responded to the Ogden-Weber Technical College Wednesday afternoon for a report of bomb threat. After a search of the campus, no device was found.
1 day ago
The family of Zane James reacts to settlement with Cottonwood Heights city....
Mark Jackson

Family of Zane James speaks out after settlement reached with Cottonwood Heights

The family of Zane James, who died after a police altercation in 2018, reached a settlement with the city of Cottonwood Heights over the death.
1 day ago
A German Shepard lays on the ground...
Mark Jones

Dog dies after being left in hot car for more than an hour

A dog died Tuesday after being left in a hot car for more than an hour, according to Salt Lake County Animal Services.
2 days ago
Utah Highway Patrol stopped 4,937 vehicles over the Fourth of July weekend....
Mark Jones

Busy Fourth of July weekend for Utah Highway Patrol

In statistics released Tuesday, the Utah Highway Patrol says its Troopers made contact with 4,937 drivers over the Fourth of July weekend, making it a busy one.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Lawmaker says it may be time to fix Utah’s sex offender registry?