The respondent, before the court for a risk level determination pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), moves for an order rejecting the recommendation of the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders (the Board) that the respondent be designated a risk level three. The respondent further seeks an order holding that he is not required to register as a sex offender.
A New York Sex crimes attorney said that in November 1988, the respondent was arrested in Kings County and subsequently indicted for robbery in the first degree and related offenses. Thereafter, he entered a plea of guilty to attempted robbery in the first degree.
Subsequent to the issuance of the Kings County warrant, the respondent was arrested in North Carolina and charged with having sexual contact with four children. Later, following a three-day trial, he was convicted of one count of first degree sex offense and related charges and was sentenced to life in prison.
Following a second trial, he was convicted of two counts of first degree sex offense and related charges and was sentenced to two additional terms of life in prison plus 60 years. Both convictions were based solely on testimonial evidence from the children, with no physical or medical evidence being introduced at trial.
The primary witnesses at both trials were the “victims”. Each of them testified to nonconsensual penis/anal contact with the respondent. The conviction for the allegation was based solely on the testimony of the victim. All of the complaining witnesses were under 12 years of age at the time of the alleged sexual contacts.
Fourteen additional witnesses testified at the trials to witnessing “rape” or other sexual abuse, all of which witnesses were children of various ages.
The respondent maintained his innocence throughout his years in prison and 12 years later, in 2003, the North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence attempted to locate and interview the children—now adults—who testified at his trial.
In January 1996, SORA became effective. SORA established a notification and registration scheme for individuals convicted of certain enumerated sex offenses. Under that scheme, a convicted sex offender is classified into one of three levels based upon the risk that the offender will commit a repeat offense. If the risk of repeat offense is low, the sex offender is designated as a level one offender. For these individuals, SORA requires notification to law enforcement agencies located in the offender’s jurisdiction, and annual registration by the offender for a period of 10 years. Level two classification, which is given to offenders who present a moderate risk of reoffense, also requires law enforcement notification and annual registration for 10 years. In addition, SORA allows law enforcement agencies to notify any entity with “vulnerable populations” that a convicted level two sex offender resides in the community. Those entities, in turn, may further disseminate that information at their discretion. The highest designation, level three, is given to sex offenders whose risk of a repeat offense is high. Level three offenders must register in person every 90 days for a minimum of 10 years, and potentially for life.
In addition to all of the notification provisions applicable to risk level two offenders, risk level three offenders are included in a directory of sex criminal offenders which is made available to the public.
Finally, for all three classification levels, SORA requires that information about the offender be available to any member of the public who calls a designated “900” telephone number.
Pursuant to SORA, the Board has developed guidelines to assess the risk of a repeat offense by a sex offender and the threat that person posed to the public safety.
To Be cont….
Accordingly, it is ordered that the respondent not be required to register as a sex offender.
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