Legislators tighten process for sex offenders who want to change name

Posted at 5:15 PM, Feb 21, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)– Today the General Assembly approved a House bill which would address issues raised by registered sex offenders who apply for a name change.

The bill intends to cover registered sex offenders, probationers and inmates.

It would require a court hearing and notice to the prosecutor before allowing them to legally change their names. In addition to naming good cause for the application, the bill would require that the applicant demonstrate that the name change would not frustrate a legitimate law-enforcement purpose, is for a fraudulent purpose and would not otherwise infringe upon the rights of others.

“Where someone like a registered sex offender or probationer is under ongoing supervision, it is important for the public to be able to look him up,” Delegate Rob Bell, R-Albemarle said.  “In recent cases, a name change went forward in court without even notice to the prosecutor.”

The issue was brought to Bell by David Barredo, an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Culpeper County.

Bell also referenced the case where a convicted rapist in Virginia changed his name from Jeff Kitze to Jeff Miller.

“The prosecutor needs to know so that he or she can present evidence to the court and make any appropriate objections,” Bell said.

The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.