Colorado

May 4, 2014 8:42 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 Guardians Update: Judge denies sex offender’s plea to be removed from the state’s registry

We first introduced you to Marilyn Spittler in a News 5 Guardian investigation in April revealing how Colorado law allows sex offenders to remove his/her name from the registry by filing an appeal in court.

Spittler's ex-husband, Jeffrey LeClere, was accused of molesting two of Marilyn's three daughters. He was ultimately convicted and slapped with a 7-year prison sentence.

After his release, LeClere registered as a sex offender. However, he wanted his name removed from the registry, alleging it was ruining his life and his ability to work. He filed a petition in Douglas County Court to have a judge review his case to see whether he was eligible to remove his name.

Because of when the sex crimes were committed, LeClere was eligible to appeal his registry requirement. However, a judge ruled that LeClere should remain a registered sex offender.
LeClere will not be able to appeal his registry requirement for another three years.

Original story:

If you believe a sex offender remains on the State's registry for life, think again.

News 5 learned by simply filing a petition, offenders can ask a judge to have his or her name removed.

Marilyn Spittler is upset, and angry after learning her ex-husband and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey LeClere, filed a petition in Douglas County Court to have his offender status wiped away.

"We need to do something about this law," Spittler said.
Spittler is referring to a Colorado law that allows sex offenders to erase their name from the registry. Her ex-husband was accused of assaulting not one, but two of her daughters back in the 1990's. For their protection and at Spittler's request, we are not releasing their names.
The abuse was alleged to have been going on for 8 years.

After one of Spittler's daughters came forward, LeClere was arrested and charged with a laundry list of sex crimes.

It's important to note LeClere was not convicted on all the sex crimes he was originally charged with committing.
LeClere was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He served time in prison through the Colorado Department of Corrections from Aug. 27, 1996 until Nov. 12, 1996.

He was not released on parole.

His sentence was converted by a judge to a community corrections sentence.

After being released from prison, LeClere registered as a sex offender.

Now, he wants his name removed.

Spittler says as long as she's living, she'll be fighting to make sure he remains on the list for life.

"His victims have permanent memories and permanent damage," she said. "They can't go petition the court to remove those memories. It's permanent in their lives and it should be permanent in his life as well.

Since 2006, more than 2,300 hundred convicted sex offenders were able to remove their name from the registry.

Below are statistics provided to News 5 by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation regarding the number of sex offenders across the state who have successfully removed his/her name from the registry:

2006: 152
2007: 221
2008: 261
2009: 314
2010: 321
2011: 469
2012: 508
2013: 459
2014: 102 through March, 14, 2014

"The overall theory of our criminal justice system is that you do your time, you should be able to move on with life," attorney Christopher Braddock said.

Braddock has helped a handful of sex offenders win their case.

"I think you have to look at if they (the offender) has done their time, you have to consider how much time is enough," Braddock said.

Susan Walker, executive director for Coalition For Sexual Offense Restoration, an advocacy group for sex offenders, says the public doesn't understand the life-long harmful effects this list creates.

"People are kept from housing and jobs," she said. "They are sometimes persecuted."

The registry removal law was created as a second chance opportunity, rewarding those who have served their time and haven't re-offended.

Laws like this are fairly common.

Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri are just a few states that allow offenders to get off the registry.

However, Spittler refuses to be sympathetic with offenders, especially ones who prey on children.

While LeClere hasn't been in trouble with the law since serving his time, Spittler believes he is still a risk.

"This particular offender works in an industry where he needs access to buildings," she said. "If you remove him from the list, there's nothing stopping him from applying for computer and technology installation contracts at schools, civic centers or daycares."

Sex offenders convicted of molesting children can no longer petition the courts to have his or her name removed. In LeClere's case, he's eligible to appeal his registry requirement since his conviction took place two years before that law was changed.

There was legislation drafted last year to make it harder for offenders to remove their names. That ultimately failed due to a discrepancy. It was not reintroduced this legislative session.

LeClere's case will be reviewed on April 10.

A judge will likely decide at that time whether to allow LeClere's name to be removed.

Calls placed to LeClere for comment were not returned.
To view the statewide registry database, visit http://sor.state.co.us/

 

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