18 Feb 2013

Lack of access to sex offender registry an American Samoan concern

5:11 am on 18 February 2013

There is a call for Samoa to ensure names on a possible sex registry can be easily updated and made accessible to the public.

A judge in Samoa wants a register of sex offenders to publicly identify perpetrators, and the Law Commission is now tasked with making recommendations to Cabinet.

American Samoa has followed United States jurisdiction that anyone convicted of sex offences is mandatory to be registered on a list in the territory.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Monica Miller, says the registry once alerted a church member to a man with a criminal record of sexual offences who had moved to the territory from the US mainland.

She says the only problem is that information is hard to find.

"There really has to be more publicity about the list. And also, people have to be told that there is a list and that if you have any concerns about somebody who is, or has been convicted, in your neighbourhood and is moving back in that you can raise it with the Commissioner of Public Safety, that he has to put that person on the list."

Monica Miller says law enforcement agencies get federal funding for the registry, and the prison warden is tasked with updating it.