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Archive for Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sex offender registry lapses exposed

State loses track of 14 percent of convicts

August 17, 2005

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— Law authorities have lost track of nearly 14 percent of sex offenders in Kansas, according to an audit released Tuesday by Atty. Gen. Phill Kline.

Kline said the Kansas rate was worse than some states, better than others, but pointed to the need to increase penalties for violating the sex offender registry system.

"We are going to explore ways that we can improve," Kline said at a news conference with a group of sheriffs who participated in a random check of compliance, including Douglas County Sheriff Ken McGovern.

In Kansas, people convicted of sex crimes must register with law enforcement officials and provide their address, place of employment and vehicle information. There are 4,026 registered offenders, approximately two-thirds of them convicted of a crime involving a child.

The offenders are listed on a Kansas Bureau of Investigation Web site at http://www.access kansas.org/kbi/ro.shtml.

In a random check of 190 registered offenders in 43 counties during the week of July 25, 21 percent, or 40 offenders, were not at their registered address, Kline said.

Kline said similar audits in other states found some had higher rates of noncompliance, such as California with 44 percent, Wisconsin, 29 percent, and Oklahoma, 25 percent. Some had lower rates, including Colorado, 7.4 percent and Nebraska, 6.9 percent.

After a second pass through Kansas, officials made contact with a number of offenders, reducing the rate to 13.7 percent, or 26, who were not at their registered address.

"So another conclusion from the audit is that 13.7 percent of the offenders who are required to register in Kansas are essentially absconders from the law," Kline said.

In Douglas County, seven offenders were selected to be checked, and one remained missing.

McGovern, the Douglas County sheriff, said the missing offender is apparently out of state and had been a student. He declined to give further details.

He said the emphasis by Kline on offender registration was "a big, positive step."

In the area, three offenders selected in Franklin County were in compliance, as were three in Leavenworth. Two of 14 offenders were missing in Johnson County, seven of 13 in Wyandotte County, and two of 15 in Shawnee County.

Kline said one of the problems with offenders not complying with the registration requirements is that failure to comply is punishable only with probation.

He said he would form a task force of sheriffs and legislators to provide recommendations to the 2006 Legislature that meets in January.

The task force will consider strengthening penalties for sex crimes, establishing a KBI team to help track offenders who don't report address changes, strengthening policies with other states when offenders cross state lines and using new technologies to keep tabs on offenders.

"Kansas children have a fundamental right to be safe from exploitation, violence and predatory activity," Kline said.

"Kansas parents deserve the peace of mind of knowing that their children learn and play in a safe community."

Kline urged Kansans seeking information to access the KBI Web site, though he cautioned that the list of offenders wasn't complete.

Even the Web site has disclaimers about its accuracy.

"It is common for offenders to move and fail to notify the sheriff's office in their county of residence of that change," reads a Web site warning.

Comments

J Good Good 8 years, 8 months ago

Every should know the statistics by now - but it bears repeating - your child is MUCH more likely to be molested by someone they know. Friends and relatives etc...

Check out your kid's friends parents too. If they give you a bad feeling, even if you can't figure out why - have the play dates at home.

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justanothervoice 8 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I agree these lists can be misleading. It is unfortunate that the judges and prosecutors have the right to say who should or shouldn't be on these lists. It would also be nice if there was some way they could be separated in categories, I dont know how, but as a parent myself, I check that list quite frequently. However, there is one particular case in which a 17 year old boy (who is currently on the list) had intercourse with a 15 year old girl, who now happens to be his wife and they have 4 children. So you never really know. It is unfortunate that the particular person is in the same categorie as a 50 year old man who raped a 9 year old. Very unfortunate our legal system.

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trueninetiesgirl 8 years, 8 months ago

the sad part is that you dont always now who your new neighbors might be,these preditors are every were so always keep a eye out, some times they are family , friends, parents or even boyfriends and girlfriends. yes woman do do these things too. even grandparents. i know i have put one in prison.you may not see it at first but if you keep watching out you will see. that is how i caught him.

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Terry Bush 8 years, 8 months ago

The list doesn't really do much UNTIL/UNLESS you are the parent(s) of a young child (of either gender) and you are trying to decide whether to move to a new neighborhood or let your children play outside when your new neighbor is at home! THEN such lists can be helpful in determining how closely you need/want to watch your child! The lists don't say who does and doesn't get prosecuted (and for what). The law makers pass the laws, and then the prosecutors get to decide who and what to prosecute for violating those laws. The list is an after-the-fact attempt to keep the public informed as to where certain types of felons now reside. If you are an adult capable of protecting yourself from sexual assault, it's probably not something you care very much about. But given the fact that TRUE sexual predators are highly unlikely to stop behaving in that fashion, having a list might help SOME people avoid certain risky situations! And finally, for those folks who aren't driven to commit such crimes, but rather just might "mess up" once.... Maybe KNOWING their names could go on such a list might deter the activity in the first place!!!??

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Red_Neck_Bible_Beater 8 years, 8 months ago

I sure hope that PW doesn't move here to Lawrence.

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hottruckinmama 8 years, 8 months ago

my neighbors son at the age of just turned 18 got in trouble for messing around with a 15 year old girl. this girl looked like she was about 20 and the real kicker is she already had a kid and another one on the way-it wasn't the neighbor kids-but so much for innocence. the registry is a good thing most of the time but you kind of have to wonder in cases like his.

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kitkat 8 years, 8 months ago

There has been a problem with this for a long time. additionally some who should be there are not required to register to begin with. After parole is complete it is near impossible to enforce, so much for law enforcements bright ideas. Overall it seems muuch has come to light about the systems ineptitudes.

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average 8 years, 8 months ago

Little Billy here is my whipping boy to explain why the Sex Offender Registry is screwed up.

http://koufax.kgs.ku.edu/kbi/kbi.cfm?id=SOP04716

Do the math. How old was Billy when he propositioned someone under the age of 16?

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offtotheright 8 years, 8 months ago

"It is common for offenders to move and fail to notify the sheriff's office in their county of residence of that change," reads a Web site warning."

Well DUH! They are criminals for gods sake!

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