A LONG WAIT TO GET PAST CRIME (Kids as young as 10 can be registered as sex offenders, a label lasting a decade)

Houston Chronicle/Renee C. Lee

Samantha Portwood's son pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault at age 12.  He'snow 24 and Portwood awaits the day this month he is removed from Texas' sex offenderregistry.  For the past decade Dale Portwood has lived under public scrutiny for a crime hecommitted when was 12.  He inappropriately touched a 7 year old girl at his baby sitter'shouse and was charged with aggravated sexual assault.  After completing two years of therapyand probation, he had to register as a sex offender, which shocked his parents.  Dale isn'talone.  About 3,600 people on the state's registry were added as juveniles.  Eleven were10 years old when they registered.  The registry has 26 juveniles who are currently 13 to 16years old.  Of the more than 340 juvenile registrants who live in Harris County, three arecurrently 16 years old.  Texas does not have a minimum age for juvenile registration, but theminimum age for prosecution is 10.