Some Tennessee Sex Offenders Applying to Be Taken Off List

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Knoxville (WVLT) A little known part of Tennessee's sex offender law allows some offenders to apply to have their names removed from the list.

Most people Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb talked to didn't even know that part of the law existed.

It allows non-violent offenders who have complied with the sex offender law for ten years to be taken off the list.

We first learned of it yesterday, when WTVF in Nashville reported that the name and picture of Springfield's vice mayor had been removed from the registry after he applied to have it removed.

James Hubbard had a 1992 conviction for statutory rape, but since has stayed out of trouble.

But at least one lawmaker we talked to, says there should be exceptions but circumstances like Hubbard's shouldn't be one of them.

Tennessee's sex offender registry is designed to let you know if there's a sex offender in your neighborhood.

But did you know some people can get off that list?

Violent offenders are on the list for life, but officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says a non-violent offender who stays clean for ten years past their end of sentence date can get off the list.

One state senator says it's designed to deal with examples like consensual sex between an 18 and 17 year old.

Senator Tim Burchett says, "they sinned and they goofed up and need to be punished but they don't need to report to a sex offender registry unless it was a force-able rape situation."

But the senator says James Hubbard's non-violent case slipped through the cracks.

Court records show Hubbard was a 44 year old counselor at a Springfield high school and the incident took place in his office.

Burtchett continues, "and he had sex with a 16 year old and the way the law is written is that if it's non-violent offense but to me, personally, that's a violent offense."

Some residents say the registry must serve to protect the public.

Will Saylor says, "there's a large number of repeat offenders. Once on the list, stay on the list."

Stuart McNeill continues, "so if you're going to have good behavior and it's in the law and you apply, you have to change the law first."

Burchett says Tennessee has some of the toughest sex offender laws in the country.

But he also says hopefully this one situation now having come to his attention will be corrected shortly so this won't ever be able to happen again.

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