California Reform Sex Offender Laws (RSOL), which has been part of lawsuits against the County of Orange and Orange County cities over controversial laws that ban registered sex offenders from public parks, now has a new target. A lawsuit filed by RSOL in federal court Wednesday challenges websites that identify people as sex offenders, include their names, photos, home addresses and personal information, and demand up to $500 to have individual listings removed from the sites. "It is time to stop the extortion of more than 750,000 individuals in this country," explains Janice Bellucci, the nonprofit's president.
Bellucci, a Santa Maria attorney, maintains the people running such websites as Offendex, Online Detective and SORarchives are engaged in racketeering and violating other state and federal laws.
"We've heard so many stories of people who have completed their registration period and yet are unable to move on with their lives," states Brenda Jones, the RSOL executive director, in a press release. "The only way they can be free is to submit to the extortion of profiteers like Offendex and that is simply appalling."
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The suit was filed on behalf of 10 people who reside in California, Washington, Oregon, Kentucky or Tennessee), but not all have been previously convicted of sex-related offenses as the plaintiffs include one wife and one mother who have never been convicted of crimes.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Women Against Registry and Families Against the Registry joined RSOL in providing financial and administrative support.