Bill aimed at protecting children of sex offenders could be problematic

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LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee will meet later this week to discuss a bill that, in part, would require registered sex offenders who live with children to prove that they are not a threat to the children in the home.

LB 60 was introduced by Senator Brett Lindstrom to protect the children of Nebraska, but there are others who don’t agree.

Jeromy Wilson is a lifetime registrant on the Nebraska sex offender registry. Years ago, Wilson said he had a relationship with an underage girl who falsified her age on an adult dating website

Today, Wilson is a father and he’s afraid he would lose custody of his three-month-old daughter if LB 60 is passed.

“I would have to prove that I’m suitable to parent even though I have sole legal and physical custody right now, He said.

LB 60 was introduced by Lindstrom to repeal a recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision and to protect the state’s children.

A statement released by Lindstrom reads in part…
“LB 60 came about as a response to a recent Nebraska Supreme Court case where it was found that a sex-offender and his wife were allowed custody of her two teenage daughters despite him previously molesting a teenage stepchild.”

LB 60 also requires that parents who have custody or visitation rights must notify the other parent if they are living with a sex offender.

Amy Sherman is an attorney and a child advocate.

“They carry the burden of showing that living situation would not be harmful to the children,” she said. “And they would have to show that with a preponderance of the evidence.”

“It’s unfair and it places a burden on me as a father but it also places a burden on the mothers out there and force them to have to tell somebody who their in a relationship with,” Wilson said.

Sherman said the bill has a narrow focus and someone like Wilson losing his child because of the change is not likely but there is a chance and that’s a chance Wilson doesn’t want to take.

The bill goes before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. If it makes it out of committee, it will be discussed on the floor of the legislature.