July 21, 2015

9 Investigates: Deputies question gaps in sex offender monitoring laws

Interesting, police cannot charge someone they cannot find, if true then there is no way for anyone to be charged for failure to register until they are caught and an investigation proves where s/he has been? And it is an incorrect assumption that a registrant is doing something wrong if the police cannot make contact with the registrant on a home address check. This area needs new police who can interpret laws as written.
7-21-15 North Carolina:

IREDELL CO. — The number of registered sex offenders in North Carolina has doubled in 10 years, now standing at more than 20,000.

Some deputies say loopholes are stopping them from holding all offenders accountable. Eyewitness News Reporter Brittney Johnson rode along with an Iredell County deputy tasked with monitoring the county's sex offenders to learn more about deputies' concerns.

July 10, Deputy David Price started making his rounds at 4 a.m. He and his partner cover nearly 600 square miles checking whether Iredell County’s sex offenders live where they say they do.

"If you have kids, you should be concerned and you should want me out here checking them," Price said.

Price estimates he brings charges against at least four offenders each month for failing to comply with residency requirements. He says he could arrest more but that gaps in the state's monitoring requirements prevent that.

"Apparently for some reason you can go completely out of state and work in another state, and you don't have to tell us anything; we can't do anything to you," he said.

He's talking about part of the state statute that says if an offender goes to another county for more than 10 days out of the month, the offender must notify the sheriff's office, but no notification is required if the offender leaves the state.

"All of a sudden you're unaccounted for completely. They don't know you're there, and we don't know you're gone," he said.

Channel 9 rode along as Price knocked on doors, but he couldn't find three sex offenders at their registered homes. He said he's checked on one man 14 times and never made contact.

Channel 9 found there is nothing that allows Price to charge offenders who aren't home during random visits, no matter how many times an officer checks.

"That’s a huge problem," said Price.

Victims' advocate Kris Taylor works with families at Pat's Place Child Advocacy Center, in Charlotte. She says monitoring requirements are confusing and hard on victims' families.

"If sex offender registry rules are different state to state, monitored different county to county, it can be really hard again for parents to understand how to keep their children safe," said Taylor.

Channel 9 took Price's concerns to state Sen. Jeff Tarte, who worked to strengthen laws protecting sex-trafficking victims in 2013.

"Is this a priority?" Johnson asked.

"I think this is always a priority when you're involving the safety of children," Tarte said.

Tarte said he didn't know about officers' concerns regarding the monitoring gaps.

"That's obviously a huge problem, if that's occurring. I wasn't aware of it, and I think most lawmakers would not recognize that exists," he said.

He told Channel 9 if officers presented the problems along with possible solutions, he would work to tweak the laws to help deputies like Price back on the road to better protect their communities.

"In an interest of public safety, we need to know where these type of people are," Price said.

A number of other lawmakers told Channel 9 they didn't know about those monitoring gaps either. They said they want to hear from law enforcement on how they can improve the laws to make it easier to monitor sex offenders across North Carolina. Many counties are seeing 10 to 20 percent more offenders each year. ..Source.. by Brittney Johnson

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