2007-12-13: Personnel/Administrative Affairs Committee meeting

Meeting agenda — See O-07-136 on page two.

Sex offenders and residency restrictions: An in-depth analysis.” A presentation prepared by Laurie Peterson.
Also available as a PowerPoint presentation.

The bill was watered down significantly, and ultimately passed out of Committee, by a vote of 4–2. Aldermen Dion and Teeboom voted against; Tollner, Deane, Williams, and MacLaughlin voted for it.

Laurie was able to travel down to Nashua in order to fight this for us. In total, six members of the general public attended the meeting in order to oppose the bill, three of whom gave testimony against it—even the Nashua Police Department had a representative in attendance who testified against it. The Nashua Telegraph had also sent a reporter to cover the meeting.

Beth Raymond of Nashua spoke against the bill as a private citizen, reiterating the statistics and research that we have already made people aware of: who is molesting whom, that the “stranger danger” is not the real danger, &c.. Then Lisa Kristi of the Nashua Soup Kitchen testified against it, as she was strongly concerned that this legislation would have the unintended consequence of increasing the homeless population in Nashua. She gave examples of what other communities and states have had to deal with as a result of similar legislation. Finally, Laurie testified, and the combined testimony convinced the aldermen to significantly amend the legislation.

They amended it to only cover people who committed offenses against a victim under thirteen, down from eighteen, in an attempt to exclude from the ordinance statutory rape situations: sex that would have been consensual, but for the age of one of the partners. (Nashua’s aldermen seem to understand that there are different classes of sex crimes—why not Manchester’s Pepino?) They also amended it to grandfather in residents in their current homes in Nashua, and to allow current Nashua residents to move without falling under the ordinance, if the move was out of financial necessity.

It was then passed, 4–2.

This is certainly an improvement over the senseless, blanket ordinances proposed and passed in other cities, but it loses sight of the most important factor in deciding sex-offender legislation: It will not protect children, regardless of how fine-tuned it is. And, if a law can’t even do what it is intended to do, why should it even be passed?