Monday, 19 November, 2018

Missing sex offenders prompt quest for answers

Sheriff urges caution when trick-or-treating on Halloween The state lost track of sex offenders. Now, an official is defending the agency
Ellis Copeland | 26 October, 2017, 03:09

The sex offenders are on probation or parole and under the supervision of the Georgia Department of Community Services, said Chip Dixon, supervisor of the Brunswick office.

Digsby says deputies make sure every one of them is accounted for.

They held a hearing this week on a report by the state auditor which found the state did not have addresses for more than 1,700 sex offenders who were supposed to be registered with the sex offender registry board.

Sex offenders are not allowed to decorate or participate in Halloween activities.

There are 188 registered sex offenders in the Wichita Falls city limits. Sex offenders are classified as Level 1, 2 or 3, with those in the top two tiers considered most at risk of re-offending. If an offender is not classified, the public can not access any information about that person, such as an address or likeliness to re-offend.

"This would ensure the trainings happen in all jurisdictions", Bennett told the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

"Saying we lost these people, to me, is like saying Chief Justice (Ralph) Gants has lost those 400,000 people who have warrants out for them in MA", he said, "or the 170,000 felony warrants out there".

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Bump said the sex offender board has data-sharing agreements with the state revenue and welfare agencies but was not carrying them out.

Of the 103 sex offenders released during the one-year audit, SORB did not classify 57 of them before they left prisons or houses of correction, according to the audit.

"We do need more employees to gather the records and have the hearings in a quicker fashion", Bennett said.

"SORB is doing the best they can with the resources they can". "The Sex Offender Registry Board is supposed to be collecting information, putting it in a registry, having hearings, making legal decisions and making legal arguments", Bennett said.

He reiterated that the board lacks authority to track down people who fail to register.

There are also challenges with registering incarcerated sex offenders before they leave jail.

If you live in Columbia County and want to know if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood, you can head to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office website, click on sex offenders and see a complete list.

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