Sex offenders will sue for privacy

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KENNEWICK — Lawyers for several low-level sex offenders in Benton County say they plan to sue to stop the release of their personal information.

Lawsuits could put a hold on names, age, addresses and phone numbers for 420 Level 1 offenders.

The offenders fear releasing the information could cost them their jobs or put their families in danger.

"In most cases my clients' offenses were over 20 years ago," said attorney John Ziobro of Richland, who is representing at least 10 offenders. "They don't want their families to know. They don't want their employers to know."

Level 1 offenders have been evaluated as having the lowest risk of re-offending.

The records were requested by former Mesa Mayor Donna Zink. She filed a public records request last month for all Level 1 offenders in Franklin and Benton counties. Franklin County has given her its information.

"We are taking the position that the documents should be released," said Benton County Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Lukson. "We are prepared to release the documents."

Personal information is available online for all Level 2 and 3 sex offenders. Personal information on Level 1 sex offenders is a public record and can be released upon request under the state Public Records Act.Zink emailed Ziobro Aug. 14, saying she will continue to seek the information.

"Yes, let's make this as public as possible and get this all ironed out so the public knows what info we can and can't have about sexual predators," she wrote.