August 30, 2010

WREG Investigators Track Down Sex Offenders

For a moment ignore the slew of registry errors talked about below, and focus on what I have highlighted. The essence of that comment means there is a local registry and the state registry; two registries. That means both the state and the local agency, are eligible for federal grant money, assuming they both apply for it and likely they do. Not only is money appropriated twice for the same function (registry maintenance operating expenses) but this means there is twice the chance for errors to enter the system. The article clearly shows some of the errors are because two agencies are involved.
8-30-2010 Tennessee:

The On Your Side Investigators track down the four sex offenders featured in our July investigation.

Some violators have been arrested by local police on unrelated charges, but never flagged as being unregistered sex offenders.

Parents now wonder how effective the online sex offender registry really is.

Shannon Massey is a Mid-South Mom and a mother of four.

"I'm very protective of my sons, their well being is my number one priority," Massey said.

She relies on tools like the Sex Offender Registry to keep an eye on who's in her neighborhood.

"I need to know who's living in my area, or who's living next to my kid's school," Massey said.

But when the WREG On Your Side Investigators told her about problems we've uncovered with the Tennessee Sex Offender registry, she was surprised to know that tool isn't as reliable as she'd previously thought.

"It's not doing me any good if it's not accurate," Massey said.

In July, we alerted you to four sex offenders with a questionable address or no photograph on the registry. Authorities didn't know where they were, so we tracked the offenders.

Maclin was a homeless sex offender who was deceased and after our investigation, was taken off the registry.

"I want my dad off the sex offender list, I do," Marquita Jones said.

Jones says her father Eligh Jones died two years ago, but he's still on the registry without a photograph or an address. It even says he checked-in in Februrary 2010.

"He's been deceased since August 13, 2008. So how can he update anything?" Jones said.

After seeing our story, Leotha Powell contacted the On Your Side Investigators, saying he's not a sex offender, although he was pled guilty to Sexual Battery in 1998.

"Up until I was on TV, no one said anything about me being a non-registered sex offender," Powell said.

Powell says his no one told him he had to register -- not his parole officer, the judge, or even his lawyer.

But a source says Powell was registering with the TBI through mailings as of 2003.

But when the system changed making local authorities responsible for local sex offenders, Powell didn't register with Memphis Police.

Powell isn't the only one who fell through the cracks, Willie Spraggins did too. The On Your Side Investigators caught up with one of Spraggins' relatives, who says police have never stopped by her home to ask about Willie. ..Source.. Keli Rabon

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