Until today, if you went to Robert Paisola's website dedicated to prison reform, you would have found that the City Weekly 2007 cover story subject celebrating the virtues of American justice because he has been taken off the Utah sex offender registry.
While apparently technically true, as ever with Paisola, the facts require a little more investigation.
Paisola was placed on the Utah registry after he was convicted of a child porn possession charge in 1994. Since release from prison, he's made a career of sorts on the Internet as a self-proclaimed expert on debt collection and exposer of fraud, although his many, many critics say he himself is a fraudster who uses the Net to extort cash from crooks and the innocent alike. His most recent and most powerful critic is the cable news giant CNN which filed a law suit on April 7 this year alleging among other things cybersquatting, federal trademark infringement and deceptive trade practices.
I asked the Utah correctional authorities if it was true Paisola had been removed from the Utah offender registry as he proclaims. The answer came back, yes, the former Lehi resident wasn't on Utah's registry anymore, but had been moved to Nevada's, where he has been a resident since mid-May. I checked on Nevada's registry and could not find Paisola. The last time he went to jail, it might be noted, was for a short stretch following his failure to register his new address with the authorities.
Paisola says "I have been completely released of any and all type of supervision." Quite how this was achieved he did not reveal. "We prevailed," is all he will say. He also questions why media scrutiny should be applied to his sex offender status. "We are making huge changes in America," he says, pointing to two businesses he claims he has "forced to deal with the wrath of the consumer."
City Weekly over the last two years has received numerous calls from individuals and businesses complaining that Paisola has in some way abused them. Out of fear of his continued harrassment, however, they have declined to go on the record. Paisola scorns them. He says he is about protecting the small man from corporate America. He contrasts his anonymity-seeking critics as "people who stand back and do nothing but throw stones."
The Department of Corrections says they will be keeping an eye open for him in case he returns to Utah. Quite how they will do that escapes me.