Men cleared from sex offender registry

A man convicted of a 1993 armed robbery and false imprisonment in DeKalb County has been taken off the state's sex-offender registry because his offense did not involve a sex crime.

An order, recently signed by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory Adams, removes Omar Howard from the registry's strict restrictions and is the result of legislation passed earlier this year. "The General Assembly should be commended for recognizing it's unwise to dilute the sex offender registry with people who aren't actually sex offenders," said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Howard was put on the registry because his false imprisonment conviction involved a minor and, at the time of his conviction, the law did not make a distinction whether it involved a sex offense. Lawmakers earlier this year allowed such offenders to be removed from the registry if a judge finds the offender did not commit a sex crime and does not pose a substantial risk of committing a dangerous sex offense.

Donnie Lee Boone, convicted in Richmond County of a 1994 armed robbery of an Augusta restaurant during which a minor was kidnapped, also was recently removed from the registry. A Superior Court judge found Boone's crimes did not involve a sex offense and that he posed no risk of committing one in the future.

Georgia's registered sex offenders cannot live within 1,000 feet of child care centers, schools, school bus stops, swimming pools and other places where children congregate. It places similar, though less severe, restrictions as to where they can work.