SB 1194 (Judiciary Public Hearing) - 3/13/23
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My name is David W., and I am the legislative coordinator for One Standard of Justice, and we strongly support bill SB1194 concerning the Sex Offense Registry. OSJ assists individuals who struggle to rebuild their lives after facing conviction for a sexual offense.
Numerous testimonies have been submitted describing how the Registry was unfairly forced on the people released before 1998. They describe how the Registry has been a heavy burden, not just on them but on their innocent families as well, whose only crime was loving someone on the Registry.
We have included a list of research at the end of this testimony, evidence that there is no public benefit to this group of individuals being on the registry. But rather than go through it here, we will address some of the reasons why members of this committee might still hesitate to pass this legislation.
Some on the committee may feel that the stories are compelling, but think that the Registry is working well enough overall, and making this sort of change isn’t necessary. To you, we want to emphasize that the science on this is clear: the Registry isn’t creating any benefit to public safety by keeping these 800+ individuals on it, people who are today no more a threat than any other member of their community. What is also clear is that for these men and women, and their families, the Registry generates tremendous harm. Listing these individuals on the registry creates a baseless fear between neighbors.
Others on the committee may feel that because of the nature of the offenses that these people committed so long ago, that they deserve the suffering the Registry causes them; that they are somehow less human and not worthy of a second chance. To you, we want to underscore that the registered are not the only ones being harmed by the Registry. Families share in the collateral damage as they are also affected by the lost wages, housing scarcity, and health problems experienced by those on the Registry. They are deemed guilty by association, and merely having a loved one on the Registry can threaten their own employment -- not to mention social rejection and bullying. Again, the harm caused by the Registry gains nothing for our communities.
And finally, there are those on the committee who may hesitate to support this bill because it’s a political ‘third rail,’ a risky topic that could get you into trouble with your constituents. It may feel easier to push it off to another year, to let someone else deal with it. To you, we say that action is needed now. These people and their spouses are getting older, and as they enter their senior years, they face growing restrictions to getting the care they need. We are on the cusp of a health care crisis because of both public and private policies that restrict access to health care and housing for this group. We need your leadership on this now.
OSJ and our partners will work very hard to get you the information you need to back up your decision. Please don’t turn away from these citizens, your constituents, who over these past 25 years have proven themselves and earned the chance to finally be free of the Registry.
More information can be found on our Paid In Full campaign website:
We also have on our website a series of webinars on Registry reform and sexual harm prevention. Of particular interest are:
R. Karl Hanson and Sen. Gary Winfield
Politics, Science, and Public Safety… Is There Common Ground
Evidence-Based Reform: Finding New Ways Forward
R. Karl Hanson
Sex Offense Recidivism Risk: Not What You Think
And a more detailed dive into the research can be found in R. Karl Hanson’s papers on recidivism and desistance:
Reductions in Risk Based on Time Offense-Free in the Community: Once a Sexual Offender, Not Always a Sexual Offender
Long-Term Recidivism Studies Show that Desistance is the Norm
And Kristen Zgoba and Meghan Mitchell’s paper on:
The Effectiveness of Sex Offender Registration and Notification: A meta-analysis of 25 years of findings
To the Committee,
My name is Paul Dubbeling. I'm an attorney who, for the past seven years, has been involved in numerous cases involving registry laws around the country. Pursuant to that work, I have met, learned from, and discussed sex offender registration, its impacts, and efficacy with many of the country's leading experts on risk, recidivism, the psychology of sexual offenses, and the efficacy and effect of registry laws.
The desire to be "safe," to protect ourselves from violence and victimization, sexual or otherwise, is a natural one. I believe the genesis of the modern registry laws were a well-meaning attempt to achieve this end. But now, after twenty (20) years, it has become clear that public registry laws simply do not work. If anything, they make us less safe. While this might seem surprising, a moment's reflection makes it clear. Public registration (much more so than a felony conviction itself) causes registrants significant difficulty in employment, housing, and basic social connection. Registration makes it much harder for these individuals to build socially connected lives, thereby exacerbating the risk factors that lead to recidivism. There is no debate on this topic - it is a matter of consensus among all researchers in the area.
As registries have ballooned in most states to tens of thousands of persons and to persons convicted of almost any crime that has a sexual component, they have become meaningless. There are sexual predators in the world. They're the type of people that committed the heinous crimes that gave rise to modern sex offender registries. But when everyone is on the registry, the registry itself means nothing more than this individual was once convicted of a sex crime.
In criminology, there is a concept called "time to redemption." It is the length of time, after someone has committed a crime, before that individual's risk of recidivism falls back to the average community rate. That is, the length of time before the fact of the prior conviction becomes statistically meaningless in looking at future dangerousness. For the majority of sexual offenders, the time to redemption is 3-5 years. After ten (10) years, virtually all sexual offenders present no greater risk to the community of committing any crime than anyone else. Even for the highest risk individuals, the time to redemption is twenty (20) years. In other words, if a sexual offender has lived in the community without committing another crime for twenty (20) years, that individual presents no greater risk to the community than someone who was never convicted of a crime in the first place - regardless of their assessed risk at the time of their conviction.
All of this means that it is certain that maintaining individuals on the registry that committed their offenses twenty (20) years ago or more does more harm than good. The registry is not supposed to be punishment, and there is no rational public policy reason why persons released into the community before the inception of Connecticut's registry should be maintained on it now.
Paul M. Dubbeling
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Good morning, my name is Aaron K., I’m testifying today in strong support of SB 1194.
In 1997 when this all began for me, I never had the opportunity to accept something that would not only burden me but my family for generations to come. I was told don't let your mistakes define you, and don't let your past hijack your future, but the way I'm currently defined and portrayed that's not at all possible.
There’s no redemption for those of us on the registry. I recently was displayed on TikTok and now my great-nieces and -nephews have been exposed to the registry and sex in a way that should not have occurred. They have seen the image of me portrayed as a monster. This cycle will continue until the day I die, thus giving me a life sentence and a death sentence.
Although when first contacted about having to register, it was a big blow – for 10 years, then my sentence began to grow and grow! As time went on doors began to close and life became more and more difficult, although it may not have been its purpose to render me somewhat helpless and useless. Basically, I’m in a prison outside of prison, an outcast amongst outcasts! The harassment continues after 25 years.
No one else has to endure this. I and the community I speak for today are seen as the ruins of society, all of us subjected to a one strike law! I have paid a hefty price already and the punishment continues.
The next chapter may include my 13-year-old son or even my grandson. I believe it started with my deceased father who was Captain of the Bridgeport Police who himself was harassed anonymously by his peers. I single-handedly ruined his legacy, I have that to live with, and I have dearly paid the price!!
I stand here today, a working voting tax paying member of Connecticut and society, a loving father, grandfather, brother, friend that just wants to be set free.
My name is Edward M., and I have been married for over 27 years to a wonderful lady. We have a son who will be earning his Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience in May from New York University. He plans on pursuing his Doctorate in Neuroscience.
I was blessed with a great job which allowed my family to advance forward in life. This job allowed us to purchase a home which my son has grown up in and able to come home to at any time. From this home, my family has done thousands of hours of volunteer work. From homeless shelters, blood drives, to community events for our neighborhood. My son still donates his time to volunteer at hospitals in NYC. But even though this sounds like a wonderful life it has its dark side.
I did not realize that my conviction was a wave that would not slow down. I came out of incarceration with the idea, belief, and devotion to start a new life and that I would be allowed to do just that. Then the laws started changing. First it was 10 years on the registry, which then changed once again to lifetime. This is when life started getting rough. My wife, who served as a missionary for two years, started losing friends. Then I started losing friends.
When our son came along it was not bad when he was younger, but the bullying and bashing got worse as he progressed up the school system. Keeping friends was hard because many parents would not allow him to come over. He wasn’t invited to many parties. He does not hate people, but he does not tolerate people who treat children badly.
Even though I am the one on the Registry, my wife and son took the physical and mental blunt, just as if they were on the registry themselves. My house took three bullets and the police admitted they knew who did it, but would not pursue a case against them. My family has been accosted on school grounds multiple times whereby the principal and police had to get involved.
In all, my family, will still move forward in life and continue to help those around us. This is our mindset. Our family made the decision to grow beyond expectations and to achieve the next step in our lives.
The registry is hurting the children of those on the registry. It is causing emotional damage to the ones we should be trying to protect. It is alienating whole families from their communities. It deeply divides us all.
Please support SB1194 by voting it out of committee. Thank you!
Good day. My name is Eldridge E. I’m here to speak in full support of SB1194. I’m a father, a grandfather, and a resident of New Britain. I was retroactively required to register in 1998 for a 1989 conviction.
For the past 25 years, I have often had to live my life with no money, no job, sleeping either outside or on the floor of my daughter’s house. I haven’t been able to go to any of my children’s school plays, field trips, or award ceremonies because I wasn’t allowed in school buildings. I still cared for them the best that I could as they grew up, and we are a tight family.
It’s hard to get work with a record but the jobs I do get are impossible to keep for more than a couple of months. As soon as someone looks me up on the registry, I’m out of the job. So, I work informal jobs, like home repair, which I’m good at. Even then, some employers use my being on the registry to take advantage of me. I took a job for $400 dollars on Christmas Eve, and when it was time to be paid, the owner told me I was getting nothing, and if I complained, he would accuse me of touching his son.
Every day is a struggle just to survive, much less be a parent. When driving with my kids, I’ve been pulled over by police, who sat me on the curb for hours, as they questioned and determined whose kids they were.
I am law-abiding, and focus every day on staying positive, because that is the only way I know how to get through this. All I want is to have a job and live in peace with my family. I ask you to support SB1194.
My name is Lou, I am 48 years old. In 1992 at the age of 17, I was accused of a sexual assault at a high school party. I maintained my innocence, and still do to this day. Over the next two years, I continued to fight the charges against me. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, being a 17-year-old kid going to drinking parties I was not involved with a good crowd. That led to my incarceration and charges unrelated to the assault.
Even while incarcerated, I continued to fight the case and sat on the trial list. I rejected every offer that came. As we got closer to a trial date, my lawyer sat down with me and explained that these types of cases are always a roll of the dice. That a prosecutor made an offer that would allow me to walk out of jail on the same day I would be walking out anyways. The biggest sales point was that I could plead under the Alford doctrine, and that I would walk away never having to deal with this again.
My lawyer made it clear that as a 19-year-old man the best thing for me to do is take the offer, move away, and just start a healthy, productive life upon my release. I sat on that for hours before I decided to accept the deal. Here was my chance to just put everything behind me and start over. I never once agreed to having my photo and home information plastered all over the internet for everyone to see. Had this been part of the agreement I certainly would’ve gone to trial. I never would’ve agreed to what I feel like is a life sentence on parole.
I would like to mention that in the 30 years since these accusations were made against me, and in the almost 30 years my face has been plastered all over the internet, no one else has ever come forward to say “that is the man who attacked me too.” Never once has my information been used to identify me as someone of interest relating to why this registry exists.
What I can however do is give you many examples where the registry has harmed me, especially through harassment. I know it has also been used to harass my children all the way through high school. I can tell you that the other children made my oldest daughter‘s high school experience hell. I can tell you that outside of watching my oldest daughter graduate, or picking one of my children from school because of an emergency I have missed every play, every after-school function, and anything else relating to their school experiences. I realize I was not legally obligated to have to miss these things, but I owed an obligation to my children to avoid further embarrassment and harassment. I can also tell you that I made myself very scarce whenever my children had company. I can tell you that we owned a pool, and outside of the few times I used it with a few adult friends I was also just as scarce when the children swam. Again, I understand that I am not legally obligated to have had to do these things, but after having your face plastered on the internet for all to see, and very little explanation as to why you were there, I did not want to create an uncomfortable atmosphere.
At some point around 2010, I had a number of letters sent anonymously to most of my friends, family, restaurants that I frequent, and a woman’s club that I was old friends with a few of the members. These letters contained my Registry picture and information, as well as the words “Did you know?” The return name and information was bogus and written sloppily to hide the person’s identity. A police report was made and it was considered dissemination of information. So much for the disclaimer on the Registry about harassment. In addition to the dozens of times I was harassed, I can also say that I have suffered huge financial losses. I had 3 good paying jobs disqualify me directly related to my Registry. Others were not as bold to tell me why but also found other candidates.
College was also off the table. There is no way higher education is going to allow a registered sex offender to enroll and if it did happen, I’m not ready for the backlash that would come with it.
Despite everything I live a quiet life, am happily married and have a good relationship with my children. I was able to finally score a good job in another state. I can also say without question that I never would have agreed to a Registry, would have rolled the dice at trial (which was in my favor), and been smart enough to know that agreeing to this was a life sentence even as a young man. It was completely unfair to impose sanctions on someone when they aren’t offered any way to defend themselves. This is something that is now considered by the court and part of the plea bargain process. I personally think my case and offer would have been completely different had this transpired in the here and now.
Please support SB1194 for me and my family!
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My name is Lucie R., and I am here in support of SB1194. I am honored to be testifying here today for my husband, Scott Raymond and others who were retroactively put on the registry in 1998.
We met in 1996, and quickly realized that we were meant to be together. Scott was the kindest, most respectful, and considerate man I had ever met. We decided to move in together and blend our families. Scott had previously opened up to me about his conviction in 1993, but at that time, there was no Registry requirement, so hence, no discussion regarding it. However, Scott's openness and honesty reassured me that I and my children were safe in his presence.
Over the 27 years that he and I have been together, he has proven to be not only a wonderful husband, but a great father, and grandfather to our 7 children and 9 grandchildren.
Scott's requirement to be put on the Registry has impacted all our lives in so many negative ways. Besides his inability to procure gainful employment, it became necessary that we had to discuss these issues with our children. It is also becoming obvious, unless this bill passes, that we will need to inform the grandchildren soon. It would be difficult for them to hear negative things from others who don't know what an awesome grandfather he is! Six-year-old Maddie really loves her Papi!
There seems to be a great contradiction to this current system. This registry prevents so many from working during a time that many employers cannot seem to find good help. So rather than becoming actively employed and paying taxes, many are jobless, and living off SSI, unemployment benefits, and social security. With this bill passed, there would be more employable, tax-paying citizens available. I myself am 65 years old, and I must continue to work for at least 5 more years to help support and carry insurance for both of us.
I watched my husband struggle with much depression over being branded with a "scarlet letter" for 25 years over one mistake that happened 30 years ago. By supporting our loved ones, collateral community members such as parents, spouses, siblings, etc., are vulnerable targets of scammers and/or angry neighbors. Some worry that they may even lose value on their homes.
As the wife of one of the people on the Registry I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to a small part of our enduring trauma from the registry and I am happy to answer any questions.
Please support SB1194 for me and my entire family!
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My name is Maureen F. I am the sister of a person who was required to register with the CT Sex Offense Registry after completing his sentence in 1988. At that time, there was no public registry. Years later, he was required to register for life. He was never arrested before or since the incident occurred.
Being on the Registry continues to emotionally, financially, and socially hurt him, and the ones he loves.
I am a 70-year-old disabled widow and have lived all of my life in Fairfield County, CT until four years ago when I moved to Oklahoma. Tom offered to come here to help me out. He notified the CT Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection that he was coming here, and Oklahoma when he arrived. He was told he couldn’t stay with me because I live too close to a school, and that he could only stay at one of three fleabag motels on the outskirts on Tulsa. He was mortified and went back to CT the next day. I had to pay for extensive repairs to the house, and his opportunity to be of help to his sister was taken from him.
Tom lives in constant fear of being harassed. Our 92-year-old mother suffers on a daily basis because of this. She may not be with us much longer and it truly breaks my heart that she has to endure this. She wanted to come today but couldn’t because of health reasons. When she received the letter from One Standard of Justice informing us of the Paid In Full Campaign, she cried.
Tom has been unable to work because of being on the registry. In addition, his wife was fired from a job because of it.
I fully trust and support my brother, and I would NOT be speaking to you right now if that wasn’t the case. Because of being publicly shamed, his self-esteem is very low, and he hasn’t pursued relationships with peers in fear of being ostracized.
He has a high stress level, depression and anxiety and chronic fatigue that affects our entire family. Our mother especially fears that if he loses his home, he will end up homeless since he is banned from public housing. I have been shunned by my husband’s family, and friends because they feel that I am guilty by association, and that increases my feelings of shame.
Please hear the suffering of my family and support SB-1194. Set Tom and our family free.
My name is Ron. I was convicted in 1992, 31 years ago. The Registry has compromised my life and the lives of my family. We have been unable to reach our potential as the Registry has hindered our life at every turn. The Registry has affected us getting suitable housing, my employment, my daughter’s school and friendships, and our relationships with neighbors and family.
Today I believe I am a productive member of society. I’ve overcome my addictions, work hard to provide for my family, yet still a lot of opportunities to better my life are derailed because of the Registry.
Today I ask you to support SB1194 so that these opportunities will open up. Some of us have strong perseverance in spite of the tremendous challenges we face from the Registry while others are broken by it. I speak now for myself and others who are unable to participate.
Hello, my name is Sara and I am providing testimony in support of SB1194.
I am writing to you today in an effort to help my other half as well as those like him. The Scarlett Letter of being on a public registry has caused a good man to have a very difficult life.
Chris has struggled financially since he came out of jail in early 1998 to the point he had to live in his car and shower at a gym. He worked 50 hours a week to bring home less than $200 after child support. No one even wanted to rent him a room.
Despite this struggle when we met he still did everything he could to take care of me, to try and shelter me from the damage this has caused him. He worked two jobs for many years so we could live comfortably and I could give my daughter a great childhood.
It took a long time but finally in 2019 we had saved enough to buy our home in New Haven County and moved in. We thought that we had found the best place to raise our family and live out our days.
In October, weeks after we had moved into our new home, our address was listed in the news for our new neighbors to see because it was Halloween time. I was mortified because up until this point I kept this from my daughter; I didn’t want her to suddenly fear the stepdad who has cared for her since she was six years old.
He hasn’t been able to take her to school, see her graduate from Middle School, take her to any father daughter dances, go to parent teacher conferences, or anything school related because the town won’t allow him on school grounds.
We keep to ourselves; we are good neighbors. We are good people and yet we’ve had people drive by our home and shout things at us. My daughter has lost friends because of this, and it's definitely been a hard thing to live with.
I love this man, he's a good man with a huge heart. He doesn't have much, but he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. This registry has caused him to live in fear, to suffer with chronic depression, to lose people he loves. He has to fight every day for survival.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Please pass SB1194 to give him and our family a chance to live a normal life.
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Good morning, Chairman. My name is Scott R., I'm a husband, volunteer, father, and proud grandfather. I'm here today to give testimony in support of SB 1194. I am extremely grateful to One Standard of Justice and this committee for this long-awaited opportunity.
In 1996 I completed my probation ordered by the court per my plea agreement made in 1993. Then, YEARS, after being totally done with the justice system I was forced to be put on the Registry. It was not part of my agreement; in fact, the state Registry didn't even exist then.
When deciding whether or not to support this bill, I humbly ask you to focus on the injustice done to us. Please put aside the thoughts and emotions the ugly label that the state has forced us to carry for decades brings. Think of this bill as an opportunity to let me live in peace after serving an additional 25-year sentence.
I have been a hard-working, taxpaying citizen since I was 16 years old. I'm even a hospice volunteer and have been for over 7 years.
Since 2011, I have had both hips and both knees replaced, yet I continue to work, usually multiple jobs because finding quality work is practically impossible. So my 65-year-old wife of 23 years still carries a cocktail tray around Foxwoods to provide our medical benefits. I am only 60, I should be the one providing for our needs. This creates an enormous amount of mental anguish and guilt for me.
The best way I can illustrate how virtually impossible it is for me to obtain gainful employment is while working at Mohegan Sun for 18 years I received multiple Employee of the Month awards and several perfect attendance awards. I even received a special recognition for my skills and service by the Richie corporation, a secret shopper company that Mohegan Sun hired. During my recognition ceremony I was told how extremely rare this award is given and I should feel extremely honored.
Now, several of my former managers, who were involved in my awards and recognition while working at Mohegan Sun, now work at Foxwoods. They want to hire me, and Foxwoods has been struggling to hire bartenders since covid. However, even though their own management, including one member of senior management, who all know me both professionally and personally for over a decade want to hire me, but cannot because human resources will not let them due to me being on the registry.
RESPECTED LEGISLATORS!! Please take a moment and truly understand what I am saying here. In a profession that I have proved for decades to be one of the best, I cannot get hired, not even by the same people that recognized and awarded me for my abilities. I have EARNED and deserve better!!!
In closing I am hopeful that all the testimony you hear today will convince you that it is time to undo the wrong that was done to over 800 CT citizens in 1998.
As of this year we all have served an additional 25-year sentence while remaining offense free. We have earned to be truly set free. Please help us by supporting this bill.
In reference to SB 1194, I am Stephen L., a Connecticut resident and taxpayer. I have been on the registry since its inception. The registry has impacted my ability to gain adequate employment to cover my housing and other living requirements.
I have not reoffended since my release in 1997. The situation has brought me to dark times. Although I am able to live on my own, I am still impeded by many restrictions including harassment. I am also on the Autism spectrum which creates additional challenges and barriers.
Please pass SB 1194 so that in my final years I can take care of myself in an improved way and my life can be enriched by opening more doors.
Thank you for your consideration.