Sex Offender Registry

Sex Offender's Activism Leads to Arrest

Trying to update laws, runs afoul of strict registry guidelines

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Michael Byars' effort to modify the state's sex offender laws was a case study for effective citizen activism at the Iowa Legislature — right up until last week, when he was arrested and fired from his job.

Byars, 24, of Davenport, has been the driving force behind legislation allowing sex offenders to have their lifetime parole sentences lifted under certain circumstances.

But now Byars, himself a registered sex offender, faces up to two years in prison. The reason: He didn't update the state sex offender registry to reflect his voluntary, unpaid and, so far, largely successful attempt to persuade lawmakers to change the law — something his attorney calls a big misunderstanding.