That burdensome two-word label

It was only by some careful legal maneuvering that Sargent, born and raised in Hancock County, ended up in Windham to serve a four-year sentence for aggravated assault. A misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse of a minor was what worried Sargent more than the threat of a lengthy jail sentence.

There is no murder registry. No arson registry. No drug dealer registry. No drunken driver registry, although Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, has introduced a bill this legislative session  to change that.

So, why are sex offenders subjected to such scrutiny? The real concern among most appears to be “How can we make sure our children are safe?” rather than “I need to know where these people are.”

Maine’s sex offender registry has been one of the most visited websites in the state for years.

Over the last three months, the number of offender records retrieved averaged about 14,600 per day, or 102,200 per week, according to Todd Tolhurst, director of development for

“It’s one conviction fits all,” Toothaker said. “We really should be grading them and deciding who poses the biggest threat.”

The hurdle is that the discussion about what to do with sex offenders and how to distribute information about them continues to be dominated by emotion rather than common sense or credible statistics. Raw emotion is a valid response to sex offenders, Diamond said, but it shouldn’t skew public policy discussions.

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