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Jan 26, 2016 3:57 PM

Bill would make it more difficult for NH sex offenders to remove themselves from registry

CONCORD - Lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it harder for convicted sex offenders to get their names off the state's sex offender registry.

The bill is a response to the case John Doe vs the State of New Hampshire.

In this case, the unnamed sex offender, whose offense dates back to the 1980s, went to court in an effort to get off the list so he can qualify for subsidized housing.

As lawmakers learned, there is no process stopping certain sex offenders from having their names removed from the statewide list, so that means in Manchester, 375 offenders could disappear from record and no one would know about it.

“For a period of time I felt sorry for myself, and I had a hard time trying to figure out why this was happening again,” said one victim who testified before a legislative committee Tuesday.

The victim begged lawmakers to adopt a stricter process for the most dangerous level of sex offenders to go through before their names are removed from the state registry.

"Potentially the most dangerous sex offenders could be off the list without any guidelines, without any input from the victim or notice to the victim,” said Lyn Schollett of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

The bill calls for the most serious, so-called tier 3, sex offenders to go through a psychiatric risk assessment, provide notice to the county attorney, the victim in the case and the victim advocate.

Without the bill, there is no guarantee that victims would be notified of their offenders attempting to come off the list. It was too late in some cases.

“I left the room with my cell phone and went to the ladies room and cried for two hours. I sat on the floor and I cried. I never got to give input for what this person did to me,” said the victim.

The proposed bill would have tier 1 and 2 sex offenders go through the same process.

Although hearing the news may be difficult, victims want to be notified of their offender’s potential disappearance from the NH state list.

“I didn’t understand how someone so terrible could be allowed to do this,” said the victim closing out her testimony.

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