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Thousands come off sex offender list months after new law

A new law took thousands off the sex offender registry.

Exposing yourself near a playground, urinating in public or peeping in a bathroom stall are just some of the actions that have landed thousands of people on the sex offender registry.

Now many of those names are disappearing from the list.

“If you were to slap a woman on the behind, that would be sexual battery and you would have to register for 15 years and that has nothing to do with children on the playground,” said attorney David Slane. “People who urinated in public or fall under what we call the Romeo and Juliet situation, where the young man may have been just a little bit older than the girl or vice versa. They’re the ones typically being removed.”

Slane said he’s taken on over 400 sex offender cases, more than anyone else in the state.

In many situations the offenders were on the list way past their punishment because the laws kept changing.

“They’ve had a number of changes or revisions of sex offender registration act over the last ten or 15 years and the court said those later laws could not apply retroactively,” said Jerry Massey spokesperson for the Department of Corrections (DOC).

Out of the 2,400 now off the list, Slane said most are level one or level two offenders which does not include those who committed violent and heinous sex crimes.

He also said under the new law a judge is able to decide a punishment on a case by case basis and not paint all offenders with a wide brush.

Slane said, “The more serious cases are the one we should spend our resources on, not someone who urinated in public.”

DOC officials say they still have another 2,700 cases to review to see if there are more offenders who are eligible to come off the list based on the new law.