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Police Web site to list sex convictions 

Colorado Springs police will add conviction information to a Web site of city sex offenders that Chief Luis Velez put up in late November.

The site, which is linked to springsgov.com, lists roughly 600 sex offenders by name and includes their photographs, addresses and physical descriptions.

But it does not provide details about offender convictions.

That omission bred criticism that the site was of little service to the public. People going online would be unable to distinguish a violent sexual predator from an offender found guilty of a comparatively minor crime -- for instance, a teenager older than the age of consent having sex with a companion who legally is a minor, Bill Martinez, a local public defender, told the Independent in November.

During an informal City Council meeting in November, at which Velez presented the site, Councilman Tom Gallagher fretted about the same pitfall. Yet neither he nor any other member of Council objected to placing the site online.

But now police spokesman Lt. Rafael Cintron says the department will add offenders' convictions to the site.

The public will have to wait until March, however. The department first must track down the offenders' actual conviction records by checking with a variety of courts, Cintron adds.

About a month ago, the Independent reported that the site appeared to violate a new state law. The law, which allows police to post offender information online, states that police "shall" include a "history of the convictions of unlawful sexual behavior" of sex offenders.

Kristen Hubbell, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, which contacted Colorado Springs police after the Independent's initial inquiry, says the department already is complying with the law.

She declined to further elaborate, but Cintron says the department is in compliance because citizens may request a CD or a printed list of offenders that includes crimes. The department's decision to make convictions available online was voluntary, he says.

-- Michael de Yoanna

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