March 2021: Bettison Quoted in Star Tribune on Predatory Registry Reform
The kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling in 1989 was what led to the creation of Minnesota’s first sex offender registry. Initially, the state’s sex offender registry was a private list to assist law enforcement, providing the addresses of convicted sex and kidnapping offenders. Today, that list, now named the Predatory Offender Registry, has expanded to over 18,000 registrants and includes juveniles, many not much older than Jacob when he went missing.
In the Star Tribune article published March 17, 2021, “Decades after Wetterling abduction, a growing push to take juveniles off state’s predatory registry,” Patty Wetterling, Stacy Bettison, an attorney and member of the Criminal Sexual Conduct Working Group, and others shared their concern over the inclusion of juveniles on the list and its impact on their future. Publicly listing offender names can make finding a job, renting an apartment, or purchasing a home far more difficult, especially for teenagers starting their lives. In a data request to the BCA, Bettison discovered over 12,000 people on the registry received extended time on the list due to a failure to register or for a non-sexual-related offense. Bettison was also quoted, “We don’t know how the registry actually works, we don’t know if it’s effective. Certainly, there’s a place for the registry, no one is saying there’s not. But how can it be set up so that it is actually serving the public in the most effective way?”
Stacy Bettison went in-depth on the history and efficacy of Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registry in her recently published article in Minnesota Bench and Bar titled, “The New Scarlet Letter – Is Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registry Helping or Hurting?”