Said Abdullah was just about to finish probation in 1996 when the New York Legislature passed the Sex Offender Registration Act. He was forced to register as a sex offender and, after a federal lawsuit put the brakes on SORA for several years, was adjudicated a Level Three offender by Westchester County Court. That ruling got it wrong, and was reversed by the Appellate Division — after all, it had been 17 years since Mr. Abdullah’s crime and in the meantime he had overcome drug addiction, gotten married, and held down good jobs without ever getting arrested again. Nonetheless, when the Poughkeepsie Journal published Mr. Abdullah’s name and photograph, his employer summarily fired him and he has lived under the cloud of having his information published on the internet ever since.
But now, another ten years later, Westchester County Court Judge Susan Cacace has reduced Mr. Abdullah’s risk level in response to a petition filed by Sharlene Morris of the Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma. That means he won’t be on the internet anymore. More importantly, it means he will be finished with his twenty years of registration in January. Since the duration of registration for Level One offenders is twenty years, unless there is a change in the law Mr. Abdullah will be done with sex offender registration for good next month.