The Jacob Wetterling Act and Colorado Sex Offenders
The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act mandated that states across America, including Colorado, must develop a state-wide registry that lists sex offenders and people convicted of crimes against children. All across Colorado in counties like Denver, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas, Larimer, and Weld County sex offenders must register because of this act. If someone convicted of a sex crime like Sexual Assault (CRS 18-3-402), Indecent Exposure (CRS 18-7-302), or Internet Luring of a Child (CRS 18-18-3-306) does not register, they have committed another felony crime of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (CRS 18-3-412.5). The registry also implements more vigorous requirements of registration for sex offenders.
Jacob Wetterling was an eight year-old boy kidnapped at gunpoint by a man wearing a mask while he was biking with his brother and friend 1989. His brother and friend were let go by the gunman but saw Jacob being taken by the man while they escaped.
Jacob Wetterling's remains were only recently found, in 2016, in a pasture 30 miles from the site of the abduction. A similar incident occurred a few months earlier ten miles from the spot Jacob Wetterling was taken. There, a boy was kidnapped and sexually assaulted. Police were hoping to link the two crimes together. In 2009, police began investigating a man who was alleged to have video of Jacob taken before the kidnapping and the man possessed child pornography. Police also found articles documenting the disappearance of several children with maps corresponding to the locations where they disappeared. The man they were investigating had been kidnapped and tortured as a child.
Because of the Sex Offender Registry, people convicted of a sex offense in Denver, Englewood, Broomfield, Lakewood, and Westminster must register their address and other personal information. After any update to the original information, they must re-register in addition to mandatory re-registration after certain periods of time.
Law enforcement feel they must be able to track every move of a convicted sex offender. Sex offenders are all perceived as the same in the registry regardless of the circumstances of their case. Victims of false allegations, unfair internet stings by police, and consensual sex with a juvenile are listed alongside offenders who were more violent in their offenses.