Illinois agency proposes to remove convicted juveniles from sex offender registry

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by Chris Stanford / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on March 25, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 8:03 AM

 (KMOV) --A new report from an Illinois agency recommends removing juveniles from the state’s sex offender registry, but law enforcement officials have concerns.

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission was assigned by the General Assembly to study the laws and remedies for juvenile sex crimes and released its report Tuesday saying, “Illinois should remove young people from the state’s counter-productive sex offender registry and end the application of categorical restrictions on collateral consequences”.

The study sites that there’s “no evidence that subjecting youth to registries improves public safety or reduces the risk of future offending”.

At least two law enforcement officials in the Metro East don’t agree with such a recommendation.  St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson says if juveniles commit a sexual offense, there’s a great chance they’ll do it again.

Mascoutah Police Chief Bruce Fleshren says if adolescent offenders are not listed on a registry there’s a lack of accountability for their actions.

“We tend to forget there are victims out there that they also want to know what’s going on with these people who commit these crimes as well as the public who wants to know who they are and where they are,” says Fleshren.

Experts at Alternatives Counseling in Glen Carbon say they help as many as 50 adolescent sexual offenders each year. 

“They can’t understand the repercussions of their sexual behavior in the same way that an adult does,” says Donya Adkerson, a licensed sex offender treatment provider at Alternatives Counseling. 

Adkerson says with proper treatment there’s less risk that such minors would offend again.

“Kids who have committed sexual offenses, with some appropriate intervention, have a 93 to 94% rate of never committing future sexual offenses,” she says.

The commission’s report also includes way other agencies could help offenders.

In order for juvenile sexual offenders to be left off of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, state law would need to be changed, says IJJC chairman George Timberlake. 

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