Sex registry’s constitutionality questioned

A registered sex offender, whose adult girlfriend is currently pregnant, is questioning the constitutionality of the law that created the CNMI Sex Offender Registry, as this prevents him from being around minors, including his own children.

Frank Kaneshi was convicted in 2011 of sex abuse of a minor in the second degree. He was sentenced to six years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was placed on probation.

While on probation, the CNMI Sex Offender Task Force and the U.S. Marshal arrested him during a compliance check last Aug. 13 for allegedly violating the terms of his probation when they allegedly found him with his adult girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter in his apartment in As Lito.

Kaneshi, through counsel David George Banes, filed last Friday before the Superior Court a motion to dismiss the case.

Having been convicted in 2011 at age 23 of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, Kaneshi now lives in the same household with his adult girlfriend and her 2-year-old daughter.

Banes said since Kaneshi and his girlfriend are soon expecting a child of their own, he will again be in violation if they maintain a family household together.

However, Banes said, the statute is unconstitutional, under both the CNMI and the U.S. Constitutions as applicable in the CNMI under the Covenant.

The lawyer said the charge against Kaneshi should be dismissed as it violates his constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, and privacy.

He said the U.S. Constitution provides that no state shall deprive any person of liberty without due process of law.

He said it also provides that no state shall deprive any person of the equal protection of the law.

Banes said the statute at issue in this case “is subject to strict scrutiny, since it intrudes upon—indeed, it outright prohibits—the choices made by Kaneshi and his girlfriend concerning their family living arrangements—i.e. to live together with each other and her infant daughter, and now their new child as well.”

Banes said it intrudes on the right of any sex offender to live in a family unit with any children, including his own.

Furthermore, he said, it also infringes on the rights of the spouses and domestic partners of any such offender to live in the family arrangements of his or her choice, in any case where children are a part of the family.

Banes cited several precedents to support his arguments.

He said there is no room for the court to tailor conditions of probation to the actual circumstances of the individual case, as may be necessary to protect minors.

“There is no consideration of whether family arrangement is involved now, or was involved at the time of the past offense,” the lawyer said.

Banes said the residence prohibition of the statute therefore violates the due process, equal protections and privacy clauses of the CNMI Constitution, and the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.