Sex Offenders

Frequently Asked Questions About Sex Offenders

Unfortunately, questions about sex offenders don’t come up until there has been provocation. When that happens, this information becomes highly relevant and helpful. For those new to this topic, here are a few of the questions we get most frequently, along with the answers. We will cover a few of them here and add more in a later post.

HOW FREQUENTLY IS THE INFORMATION UPDATED?
The information on this website is updated or changed each time there is a change to information on the official sex offender information system. Changes of address, for instance, are indicated on the website as soon as those changes are entered on the sex offender computer file.

IS THE INFORMATION ACCURATE?
We strive to be sure that the information is kept up to date. If there are errors detected in any of the data presented here, we ask that we be notified of those errors. We will research any such notifications thoroughly, and will make corrections where appropriate. Address information is verified every six months for most registered offenders, and every ninety days for lifetime registrants, so there is a significant effort made to have address information that is accurate.

However, people do tend to move frequently, and it’s not always possible to keep the information updated with a recent move, especially if an offender has not made the notifications that they are required by law to do, or if we have not yet received the new information. The public is asked to assist in keeping us informed if they find any discrepancies between the address information presented here and the known location of a sexual offender. Knowing how to look up criminal records is one way to help local agencies keep informed.

SINCE THE WEBSITE HAS ONLY “HIGH RISK” OFFENDERS AND “LIFETIME REGISTRANTS,” HOW DO I GET INFORMATION ON ALL OTHER SEX OFFENDERS?
Information on all offenders with a registration requirement can be obtained by calling the Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Offender information may be requested by city, county, or the entire state. Or, you can go to the FBI website.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET THE WHOLE LIST FROM THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL AND HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Usually, the list can be mailed out the same day it is requested. There is no cost.

WHAT DOES “LIFETIME REGISTRANT” MEAN?
A lifetime registrant is an offender who is required by statute to remain registered with his/her local law enforcement agency for the rest of his/her life. Regardless of where the offender lives, that registration must be maintained, and any change of address must be reported to the law enforcement agency where the individual is registered.

Any change of address from one jurisdiction to another, requires that the person re-register in the new jurisdiction, no matter what state. The address of that offender is required by federal statute to be verified every 90 days.

WHAT PROCESS DOES AN OFFENDER GO THROUGH WHEN HE OR SHE REGISTERS AND/OR MOVES?
When an offender registers, the offender carries registration papers with him/her to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction of residence, employment, or school (police or sheriff’s department). The registration papers are received when the offender leaves court or a correctional facility.

At the law enforcement agency, the offender is fingerprinted and photographed, and signs the bottom of the registration form. Copies of these registration materials are sent to the State’s Office of Attorney General. If a move is made within the law enforcement jurisdiction where the offender is registered, the offender needs to inform the law enforcement agency where he/she is registered of the move.

The offender does this by going to that agency and filling out a change-of-address form. If the move is outside the jurisdiction where the offender was previously registered, the offender needs to register again in the new jurisdiction.

HOW WILL WE KNOW IF AN OFFENDER LIVES IN OR MOVES INTO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD? HOW WILL WE KNOW IF THAT OFFENDER LEAVES?
Information on “high risk” offenders and “lifetime registrants” is provided on online, including address information. This information is updated as information becomes available to the state offender registration program. For other offenders, moderate and low risk, information may be requested from their state’s Office of Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Listings of these offenders can be made available by city, county, or the entire state. Local law enforcement agencies can provide information to the public on offenders living, working, or attending school in their communities or jurisdictions. Call them or visit them to make inquiries or express concerns.

Many police and sheriff’s departments around the country will do community notifications through the news media, public meetings, or personal notification when high risk offenders and lifetime registrants move into a neighborhood. Ask your police or sheriff’s department what their specific policies and procedures are for public notification.

 

How Dangerous are Sex Offenders

Sex offender is an ugly label to put on someone. Many deserve it, some do not. It’s unfortunate that our legal system doesn’t differentiate in how dangerous someone is who has had to register as being a sex offender.

Some people are on the registry because they were 18 years old and therefore an adult, and had consenting sex with their girlfriend or boyfriend who was a little younger, under the adult age. That doesn’t seem fair to have to carry that stigma and repercussions for the rest of their life.

Certainly, most of those on the registry deserve to be there. Some have committed horrific crimes. Should we have a way to classify the type of sex crimes someone is convicted of?