Michigan judge rules state’s sex offender registry unconstitutional
DETROIT — The sex offender registry lets you see local offenders in your area, but everything could soon change because a U.S. district court judge ruled Michigan’s sex offender registry unconstitutional.
“They said I had sex with a minor,” said Charles Engram, registered sex offender.
Engram was charged with criminal sexual conduct in 2011. He served prison time and was released in December 2018. He can’t go near schools, his information is public and he is tracked by a tether.
“They can have you put back in prison just like that,” Engram said. “That’s not the same for a person who’s killed somebody. They can have five or six bodies on their hands and they get released, they get parole. There’s no tether put on their leg, none of that,” Engram said.
Engram said he was originally to be placed on the registry for 15 years, but later said it was changed to life.
“It should be designed for those people who are very sick sex offenders who need treatment, who need to be regulated. Not all people who committed a sex offense crime are like that,” Engram said.
“You’re accused of it. You’re convicted of it. Come on now. We as a community have to prioritize things. And I don’t believe the priority should be an offender’s innocence or assistance from the state – what he can or cannot get. It’s your fault. You’re an offender. Suck it up,” said Eric Layton, sexual abuse survivor.
Layton was sexually abused as a child.
“Being molested in foster care, that pretty much took a toll on me that I didn’t really realize until adulthood. It’s a tough thing to hear these types of headlines,” Layton said.
Layton said the sex offender registry not only prevents future assaults, but it gives survivors peace. Revising it feels like a slap in the face, Layton said.
“You should first consider protecting the survivors and preventing this from creating other victims. And then allow offenders what you deem a lesser action or charge, allow them to fight their own battles,” Layton said.
The judge gave the state 90 days to change the registry.