"Hundreds of Missouri sex offenders now required to wear GPS monitoring devices for life

"By Jesse Bogan St. Louis Post-Dispatch 05/16/17

ST. LOUIS • A sex offender from St. Charles County thought he had moved on with his life after successfully completing five years of probation for sending webcam photographs of his genitals to an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Now he’s among hundreds of people in Missouri who are learning they must attach GPS monitoring systems to their ankles for life, even though such a requirement wasn’t part of their sentencing agreement.

The devices send out alerts if an offender lingers near a school or a park. Cut the wide black strap and the waterproof device will tell on them. It beeps to prompt a verbal command from state officials, say to make a payment or report to probation officers immediately.

The retroactive requirements are part of a revised state criminal code that went into effect Jan. 1. Offenders either found guilty or who pleaded guilty to 13 various sex crimes in question based on an act committed on or after Aug. 28, 2006, are subject to the added security measures. Previously, the monitoring technology was used for a more limited class of high-risk offenders.

The St. Charles man is among several sex offenders who are suing and challenging the state. In the lawsuit, in which he is named only as D.G., the 40-year-old argues that the law didn’t exist when he pleaded guilty. He claims he’s no longer “legally subject” to the jurisdiction of state prison authorities.

He argues that he shouldn’t be required to pay monthly supervision fees for decades, nor have travel or residency restricted for life.

“I don’t think a lawyer can make a straight-faced argument that it’s constitutional,” said Clayton-based attorney Matt Fry, who is suing the state on behalf of D.G. and has many other plaintiffs in the wings.

A March 29 “Dear Sir/Madam” letter from chief state supervisor Julie Kempker lays out the law, including threat of a class D felony if conditions are violated.

He called it a “quality-of-life” measure.

“We understand that this change may be unexpected,” Kempker said in the letter. “Rather than being detracted by the lifetime supervision requirements, you are encouraged to remain focused on your daily supervision responsibilities and to do those things that improve your life and positively impact your family and the community in which you live.”

Many sex offenders panicked and started calling lawyers. Some are confused: for instance, those no longer on supervision who moved away from Missouri.

A 41-year-old sex offender from south St. Louis County said he sees the changes as unlawful, too costly and ineffective.

“Lifetime. For the rest of your life. I can’t even comprehend it,” said the man, who didn’t want to be identified to avoid bringing more unwanted attention to himself.

According to court records, he pleaded guilty in 2012 to first-degree child molestation for touching the genitalia of a friend’s 7-year-old daughter.

The first-time offender was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He spent four months behind bars before he was let out to undergo treatment in the community.

So long as he did well, he’d be done with state supervision after five years on probation, not including registering as a sex offender for life. But during a monthly visit to his probation officer in April, he found out about being subject to the added layer of oversight.

To See the Full Story the web site is provided

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/requirement-to-wear-ankle-monitors-for-life-catches-hundreds-of/article_2f21d6bb-1dc2-5395-9513-016fc05ae333.html

 


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