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Missouri sex offender presses for chance to be off registry, May 15, 2014
By Bailey Otto
A boy jerks his hips back and forth, his eyes trained on his dad who is skating backward smoothly. Six-year-old Julian does his best to imitate the movements.
But he falls on his butt. His oversized helmet nods like a bobblehead.
His dad, Sean Ryno, waits near the edge of the rink, watching Julian clamber back to his feet.
Later, giggling and worn out, Julian lets Ryno help peel off the gear. The boy's row of blond cowlicks, a feature he shares with his dad, springs free as he yanks off the helmet. His little face is bright red. The pads are encrusted with ice. The red hockey stick rivals his height.
Once the pads are off, Ryno, 29, scoops up his son and swings him around. Julian's rolling giggles resonate from his gut.
"Go to Gramps for a bit, OK?" Ryno says.
The boy scampers off.
Ryno waits a beat. Then —
"Can you imagine losing that?" His voice drops, breaks.
Added to registry
On Friday, Ryno's wife, Cassandra, was granted custody of their son. The two agreed on the stipulations prior to their divorce hearing. Ryno didn't fight for custody because he knew he would lose. Sean Ryno is a registered sex offender.
In 2003, Ryno pleaded guilty to deviate sexual assault, which is defined as deviate sexual intercourse without that person's consent.
Ryno contends the incidents were nonviolent but manipulative. The girl was 14 years old. The case involved three instances: two when he was 16 and one when he was 17. They involved oral sex and undressing.
As a result of his guilty plea, Sean Ryno was added to the Missouri Sex Offender Registry.
452.400 prohibits a registered sex offender from being granted custody in the
case of a divorce if the offender pleads guilty to any of a litany of offenses,
including deviate sexual assault. Missouri
Ryno has tried for years to be removed from the registry.
Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, has sponsored a bill for the past three years that would allow more sex offenders such as Ryno to petition off the registry. Introducing House Bill 1561 to the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee this session, Hinson said it's time for the legislature to give those who were juveniles at the time of their offenses a better chance of getting off the registry.
Ryno's dad, Michael Ryno, had temporary custody of Julian while the boy's mom served overseas in the Navy. She was transferred to
in early April, where she will take Julian. Bartlett, Tenn.
Sean Ryno was granted visitation the third weekend of every month. His visits must be supervised, according to
law. He will be responsible for all travel expenses, which he fears will keep
him from seeing his son as much as he would like. Missouri Bartlett
is about 350 miles from .
He also will pay $330 a month in child support. Jefferson City
Ryno's wife filed for divorce in April 2013, stating that the marriage was irretrievably broken. Ryno said it was hard keeping up with her service in the Navy. The military requires movement, and for someone on the registry, moving can be a nightmare. Every state and city is different in regard to sex offenders. Finding housing isn't easy when looking to rent. In Ryno's experience, many landlords don't want to lease to someone registered as a sex offender. It's even harder to keep a job.
Ryno ruminates on the nine years spent with his wife, constantly gridlocked by the complications that come with the registry.
"Most people in my life, they understand and have so much sympathy that they get on board completely until they realize how actually (hopeless) it is," Ryno said. "They make the decision that they don't actually need to carry this burden. They really can walk away, and they do. It's difficult to fault them for that."
He said he believes that had he not been on the registry, he would still be married, serving his country and never having to worry about losing his son.