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Some opposition to sex offender bill

Posted at 7:50 AM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 07:50:26-04

"It was one of my biggest achievements to be part of that organization but now it is one of my biggest triggers," Alexandra Mitchell told the Senate Legislative Committee.

The former Listening Ear Board Chair and sex assault victim talked about feeling re-victimized after discovering three sex offenders were volunteering at the crisis center and several board members knew.

"I believed that people there were trustworthy. I believed that I was safe. And in both counts, I was unfortunately gravely wrong," she added.

The incident pushed fellow volunteer and former Development Coordinator, Andrew Dombrowski, to take legislative action.

"It didn't feel that an open conversation could be had about keeping them or not keeping them. It was more of attacks on why are you bringing this up?" Dombrowski explained.

So, he worked with Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. to make what Listening Ear did illegal.

"You would think this is something that would just be common sense, it wouldn't happen," the Senator said. "But it did, in my district and I don't want it to happen ever again in Michigan."

A spokesperson for the Listening Ear told News Ten the center does think the bill is important, but the staff is waiting until their board meeting Wednesday night to take an official stance on the legislation.

"We're gonna talk about the bill and a possible future meeting with Senator Hertel at the Board meeting tonight," Publicity Coordinator, Alicia Parrish, said.

The bill is headed to the Senate floor for a vote, but the ACLU is pushing against it.

Legislative Director, Shelli Weisburg, explained, "It will further exclude an entire class of people from meaningful participation in society, based not on their risk of dangerous-ness nor their risk to public safety, but only because they are included on a registry that was built on fear, instead of analysis."

The group said reforming the registry should come first.

The Listening Ear says volunteers still answer about a thousand calls a month.

14 more people will start their training Thursday.

We'll keep you updated on what happens at tonight's board meeting.