Because the state legislature realizes that repeat offenses are significant possibilities with those who have been convicted of sex crimes or as child predators, the Sex Offender and Child Predator Registry has been developed to protect individuals through the availability of public information. Without effective information about known offenders, the efforts of law officers to investigate allegations and protect their communities can be hindered. When public safety is an issue, the registry can be important in locating and questioning possible perpetrators of crimes.
Registry requirements do affect a convicted individual’s privacy due to public interest in a safe community. Release of relevant information in cases affecting public safety are deemed by the state to be in the public interest. The registry is a state effort to support law enforcement professionals in their work. At the same time, it is important to understand that use of information about sex crimes and offenders by the public is limited. A private citizen may not use information obtained through the registry to intimidate, harass or threaten a registered offender or the acquaintances or family members of that individual. Additionally, information may not be completely accurate at times, meaning that a private citizen is responsible for the verification of information obtained through the registry.
While registration may be required due to the nature of an individual’s conviction, this does not automatically imply guilt if a sex crime occurs in a community in which a registered offender resides. Law enforcement officials may question such an individual during an investigation, but retaliatory actions from members of a community violate one’s civil rights.
A registered offender facing questioning in connection with an investigation may want to retain a lawyer prior to answering questions to ensure that personal rights are upheld during the process. Additionally, a lawyer’s help may be important if community members misconstrue an interview with a registered offender as a sign of guilt and act inappropriately.
Source: Louisiana State Police, “OFFENSES“, September 29, 2014