A man convicted of rape and child abuse in Massachusetts said he shouldn't have to register as a sex offender in Indiana because he moved here before the registry went into effect in either state.
The Court of Appeals of Indiana has set arguments in Thomas Andrews' lawsuit for Sept. 5 at the Indiana University Robert McKinney School of Law in downtown Indianapolis.
Andrews pleaded guilty to charges of rape and abuse of a child in Massachusetts in 1984. He completed his sentence in 1989 and moved to Indiana in 1993. He hasn't been arrested on sex offense charges while living in Indiana.
The Indiana law creating the registry went into effect in July of 1984. Currently there are 9,129 people on the list.
The state claims a 2006 federal law obligates him to register as a sex offender.
Andrews argues that Indiana's constitution prohibits laws from being enforced retroactively.
"We have a Constitution, we have laws and we have to follow them," said Andrews' attorney Cara Wieneke. "Sometimes we might have to make decisions that are uncomfortable for us personally, but if a person has the right not to be placed on the registry, he has the right to be removed as well. Our Supreme Court says he has that right."
The prospect of sex offenders like Andrews, operating in society without being on the list, is a scary situation, said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Cindy Oetjen.
"I think it is important for them to remain on the registry so that everyone is aware that they have been convicted of that crime, whether it took place 30 years ago, 50 years ago," Oetjen said. "These people tend not to stop committing these crimes. They just look for new victims. If they are not on the registry, other people will not be aware that they have committed those sorts of crimes."
The attorney general office's would not comment on the case.
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