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EXTRA: Sex offenders urge lawmakers to change state registry

8:26 PM, Oct 3, 2006   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Ask any dad about alleged killer John Couey and you'll almost always get the same reaction, disgust. Chris Coleman, Aaron Euart and Howard Sluss are no different. All three Bay area fathers say they're appalled by even the thought of Couey.

Chris Coleman, Brooksville Dad:
"I have a little girl myself and I keep and eye out like a hawk for guys like that."

But if you check the state's sex offender registry you'll find that Coleman, Euart and Coleman are registered sex offenders, just like Couey.

Aaron Euart, Sarasota Dad:
"They read sex offender and it's now like 'hey check it out, that guy likes little kids."
Howard Sluss, Tampa Dad:
"They are going to think child rapist or molester, pedophile."

But these 3 married fathers say they're not a danger to other kids and say they shouldn't be lumped in the same category as Couey. The men all had sex with a different girl when they were around 18 years old. The girls the men slept with were either 14 or 15, with Sluss and Coleman claiming the girls lied about their age, saying they were much older at the time.

Aaron Euart, Sarasota Dad:
"The hardest part is just trying to live a normal life."

The men are now asking lawmakers to classify sex offenders. They say unless a change is made, they will continue to be associated with child molesters like Couey and David Onstott. They also say the current labeling system is robbing them of the chance to have a normal fatherhood that includes things like coaching their kids little league games.

Preston Rudie, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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