Human rights group assails federal sex-offender registry system

NEW YORK (AP) — A human rights group is calling on the government to stop the practice of placing the names of juveniles on publicly accessible sex-offender registries.

Human Rights Watch says in a report that this policy can cause lasting and unwarranted harm to some young people.

Some law enforcement officials and victims’ rights advocates agree that the current registry system is flawed. They are supporting steps to allow more discretion in juvenile offender cases.

Offenses that can trigger listing on the registries range from rape to consensual sex between children and could include so-called “sexting” of photos that depict nudity or sexual activity.

The Human Rights Watch report, which is being released Wednesday, is the most comprehensive examination so far of the impact that registry laws have on juvenile sex offenders.

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