A scenario much too familiar.
The Concord Monitor (8/24/2009):
A 20-year-old college student went online in a New Hampshire romance chat room one afternoon and struck up a conversation with a 14-year-old girl. She said she was a virgin who lived at home with her mother. In explicit terms, detailed in court records, the man asked her to meet him so they could have sex.
She agreed, and the man drove to the meeting place. He waited a few minutes, then got back in his car and left, according to court documents. The police pulled up behind him and arrested him. The "girl" he met online was actually an undercover cop.The man was charged with two felonies. But on a negotiated plea, he pleaded guilty to attempted second degree assault, a felony, and attempted sexual assault, a misdemeanor. He received a suspended sentence and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Fast forward to graduation. Armed with a degree in finance, well, you know the story. Nobody will hire him. Nobody wants to go near him.
Except New Hampshire state Rep. Jennifer Brown.
"He didn't meet anyone," Brown said. "He got there, turned around and left so fast. . . . He went to the meeting, then said, 'I'm just leaving,' and that's what our state calls a criminal."
"What happens when you're young derails your career," Brown told a House subcommittee last week. "You have none. Being on the list is an onerous responsibility."
Brown has sponsored a bill that would exempt the least dangerous class of sex offenders, which includes her son, from registering on the public sex offender registry.
New Hampshire's law enforcement community is, let us say, unreceptive.
And the reason why?
Associate Attorney General Anne Rice said if the state adopts Brown's bill, it could jeopardize federal funding. According to the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, all perpetrators of sex crimes against children must be on the public list, Rice said. New Hampshire passed a law that went into effect Jan. 1 that brought the state into compliance with the federal regulations. Up to 10 percent of a federal justice grant could be jeopardized if the state changes its laws. State Rep. Steve Shurtleff, a Concord Democrat who chairs the House Criminal Justice Committee, said that up to $1 million in federal money could be put at risk.
Keep your eye on this one.
Read more here.