Up to 1,900 Sex Offenders Not in Compliance

Up to 1,900 Sex Offenders Not in Compliance

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Gene Kennedy reportingHundreds, maybe thousands, of convicted Utah sex offenders could be lying about where they're living.

Utah's Sex Offender Registry is supposed to help keep us aware and safe. But it may offer a false sense of security.

The state's website, which gives information on registered sex offenders, receives 20,000 hits a month from people who want to know if there's a sex offender in their neighborhood. But some of these addresses are flat-out wrong.

The sex offenders have moved, failed to give their new address, and they get lost in the shuffle.

Stories like James Butler, a Syracuse sex offender who sodomized a little girl, then later didn't register for two years. It's not an unusal story, according to corrections officials.

The Utah Division of Adult Probation and Parole says about two or three out of every ten sex offenders' addresses are wrong. As many as 1,900 Utah sex offenders not living at their registered address.

State law requires sex offenders who are released to update their information every year and within ten days of every move. But many don't, and the Department of Corrections says it does not have the resources to keep track of non-compliant sex offenders.

It would need an additional 60 people to do so, at a cost of four million dollars a year.

Utah is by no means the only state dealing with this problem. Senator Orrin Hatch is co-sponsoring legislation that would overhaul the system, including making it a felony to not register, not just a misdemeanor, a crime with a possible a ten-year prison sentence.

On the Net: www.cr.ex.state.ut.us/community/sexoffenders

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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