Bill would put all convicted sex offenders on online registry

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ELIZABETH -

A New Jersey assemblywoman has proposed a bill that would put all convicted sex offenders on the Megan’s Law online registry.

Under the current regulations, low and moderate risk offenders aren’t made public on the site. Assemblywoman Amy Handlin is looking to change that.

Monmouth County resident Brooke Geringer says that she is supporting Handlin’s bill after she unknowingly dated a sex offender.

Geringer says that her phone was once flooded with images of child pornography, sent by a man she had been dating on and off for three years.

“I got over a hundred pictures in a 12-hour span. I mean I woke up to 100s of pictures. My initial reaction, honestly, is still a blur. I think I was in a state of shock,” she says.

Geringer reported the man to police and he later pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing child pornography and spent several months in prison. She says that when she tried to look him up after his release in 2016, she found that he wasn’t on the Megan’s Law website.

“It should still be public. Regardless of what the extreme is, it should all be public knowledge,” Geringer says. “I’d want to know if I was moving next door to them, and that’s not the case right now.”

But the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender says that they are not in favor of the bill and would fight against it.

Megan’s Law list manager Fletcher Duddy says that bills like this have come up before and says that they are “terribly unfair” to low-risk offenders. He says that the mandatory notifications could leave these offenders unemployable and homeless.

Duddy adds that almost every offender is on parole supervision for life, even those not listed on the Megan’s Law registry.

The bill has been introduced in the state Legislature and was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Geringer has created an online petition to push for it to get a hearing.

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