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Convicted sex offender still paying the price 29 years later

A Missouri man has lost his Section 8 housing voucher because of a sexual assault conviction nearly 30 years ago. The man, now 50 years old, was convicted in 1983 when he lived in a different state. After serving time in prison, he moved to St. Joseph, Missouri, and applied for Section 8 housing assistance, which is provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The man had been receiving housing assistance since 2003. However, his benefits were taken away by the Housing Authority of the City of St. Joseph back in October. The man was sent a letter saying that his benefits were being taken away because he was on the sex offender registry, but that he had a right to a hearing to dispute the ruling. He then attended the hearing, but was denied. He has filed a lawsuit regarding the revocation of his benefits.

Technically, because the man is a convicted sex offender and is on the registry, he should not have been granted the Section 8 voucher in the first place. However, there is nothing in the regulations that permit the housing authority to revoke his benefits, according to the lawsuit he has now filed.

The man says that his monthly income is less than $700, and so paying his monthly rent of $350 is a struggle. He had received $142 every month from the housing assistance program.

This case illustrates the severity of sex crimes and their long-term affect on people's lives. Nearly three decades later, the man in this case is still paying for his mistakes. People who are charged with sex crimes owe it to themselves to make sure they have an experienced criminal defense attorney on their side to defend their rights and minimize any short-term or long-term impact on their lives.

Source: St. Joseph News-Press, "Registered sex offender loses housing benefits," Kristin Hoppa, Jan. 2, 2012

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