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ST. LOUIS (AP) - New filings in a class action lawsuit challenging Missouri's treatment of convicted sex offenders seek the release from custody of more than 200 men in the program.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the legal challenge to the Missouri Department of Mental Health claims its Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services program is mismanaged, overcrowded and essentially a prison disguised as a mental hospital.
 
The program was created to treat sex offenders who complete prison sentences but are deemed unsafe to be released. They are held indefinitely as mental health patients at secure facilities in Farmington and Fulton
 
Since the program was started 14 years ago, no one has successfully completed treatment. The suit was first filed in 2009. Missouri is among 20 states with similar treatment programs.
Published in Local News

Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that will close a loophole in sex offender rules.

The law will ban convicted sex offenders from playgrounds of recreation areas in private buildings. That means offenders will not be able to set foot in play areas like those found in McDonalds restaurants.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Registered sex offenders would have to vote at their local county clerk's office under a bill under consideration in the Missouri House.

The House Elections Committee held a hearing on the measure Tuesday. Republican Rep. Tim Remole, of Excello, is sponsoring the legislation. He says it will protect voting rights for registered offenders while also protecting children in schools that are designated as polling places.

No one testified in opposition to the proposal, but the Missouri Association of County Clerks says it would cost money to turn local election offices into polling places on election day.

If offenders can't make it to the clerk's office on the election day, they would be required to cast an absentee ballot.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri House committee has endorsed legislation that would eliminate the current time limits for prosecuting cases that involve sexual offenses against people age 18 and younger.

Right now, prosecutions must start within 30 years after the victim's 18th birthday. The statute of limitations already does not apply to instances of forcible rape or forcible sodomy, attempted forcible rape or attempted forcible sodomy and kidnapping. The measure would allow prosecutions for child abuse at any time.

The House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee approved the legislation Monday.

Earlier this year, a state child sex abuse task force released a report urging lawmakers to eliminate the statute of limitations for first-degree statutory rape and first-degree statutory sodomy.
Published in Local News
Monday, 25 February 2013 01:22

MO adds sex offenders to treatment program

FULTON, Mo. (AP) - The number of people Missouri holds as sexually violent predators is shooting up and leading mental health officials to seek millions of additional dollars for their care. Mo. adds sex offenders to treatment program

For the upcoming year, Gov. Jay Nixon's budget recommends more than $2.6 million for nearly 60 additional positions within the Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services program at facilities in Farmington and Fulton.

A state law taking effect in 1999 allows certain sex offenders to be civilly committed as a "sexually violent predator" after completing a criminal sentence. Mental Health Department Director Keith Schafer says the growth has been about 20 people per year.

Schafer says the department regularly has sought and received additional staff in the budget.
Published in Local News

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