Southern Utes establish sex-offender registry

Registration required by Oct. 1

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe will roll out a new sex-offender registration program during the coming months that will apply to Native Americans and non-Native Americans on tribal land.

The requirement applies to non-Native Americans who live, work or go to school on tribal land and Native Americans who live, work, or go to school within the exterior boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation who have been convicted of a qualifying sex offense, even if they already are registered with another jurisdiction.

The requirement will apply to hundreds of people who work for the Sky Ute Casino Resort, the Southern Ute Tribe’s Growth Fund and tribal administration, said Beth Santistevan, media coordinator for the Southern Ute Tribal Council.

Registration is required by Oct. 1.

The tribe created the program in response to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which went into effect in 2008. In addition to setting minimum standards for sex-offender registration and notification, the federal law requires federally recognized Native American tribes to establish registration programs.

The tribe’s list of sex offenders will be synced with La Plata County’s list, Santistevan said. Many of the people who are expected to register with the tribe already have registered with state or federal programs, she said.

Before the law, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe did not require sex offenders on their reservation to register.

In reviewing the tribe’s program, the U.S. Department of Justice said the tribe “has put forth exceptional work and effort in substantially implementing (the law).”

ecowan@durangoherald.com

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