Whereabouts of almost 1,300 Missouri sex offenders unknown

7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Monday, October 01 2018 Oct 1, 2018 Monday, October 01, 2018 10:19:00 AM CDT October 01, 2018 in News
Source: The Associated Press
By: Jim Salter, The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police don't know the whereabouts of nearly 1,300 registered sex offenders in Missouri, including hundreds who fall into the most dangerous category, according to a state audit released Monday.

Missouri law requires convicted sex offenders to register their names, addresses and other information with their county law enforcement, most often the sheriff's department. The Missouri State Highway Patrol maintains a publicly available database. Offenders must keep their information up-to-date and notify law enforcement when they move.

The audit released by state Auditor Nicole Galloway says 1,259 sex offenders are unaccounted for — about 8 percent of the nearly 16,000 registered sex offenders in Missouri — and it blames inadequate enforcement of the registration requirement at the local level. In 14 counties and the city of St. Louis, the whereabouts of more than 10 percent of sex offenders is unknown.

Galloway said the findings are "disturbing and alarming."

"As it stands the sex offender registry really provides a false sense of security," Galloway said at a news conference in St. Louis.

Galloway said the audit did not compare compliance rates in Missouri with other states, nor did it examine if non-compliant sex offenders committed additional crimes.

However, other states have had similar problems with keeping up with sex offenders. A state analysis in August found that Wisconsin didn't have current information on 2,735 offenders. A 2017 audit in Massachusetts found no address on file for nearly 1,800 of the state's more than 13,000 registered sex offenders.

By contrast, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said in August that the statewide compliance rate for registered sex offenders there was 98.8 percent — only 45 of 3,695 South Dakota sex offenders were identified to be in non-compliance.

Missouri's registration requirement law took effect in 1995 and was updated this year to classify sex offenders into three tiers. The most dangerous sex offenders are listed in Tier III for offenses that include rape, sodomy or first- or second-degree child molestation. Those offenders must register with local police every 90 days for the rest of their lives.

Galloway said the audit found that at least 794 of the non-compliant offenders met the criteria for Tier III. She singled out St. Louis, where 197 of the 244 unaccounted for sex offenders fall into the most dangerous category.

The audit showed the problem persists in places large and small. Stoddard County in rural southeast Missouri had the highest rate of unaccounted for sex offenders, 25.2 percent, followed by Jackson County, which includes Kansas City, at 20.7 percent. Butler County, also in southeast Missouri, was third-worst at 20 percent, followed by St. Louis city at 19.3 percent.

Phone and email messages seeking comment from officials in St. Louis and the counties with the highest rates of unaccounted for offenders were not immediately returned. But Galloway said law enforcement officials often cite a lack of resources. She acknowledged that understaffed police agencies face an uphill battle in maintaining the registry. "But this is critically important," she said.

Failure to comply with registration requirements is a felony. The audit found that less than 10 percent of noncompliant offenders had an active arrest warrant against them.

In addition to urging strong control at the local level, the audit cites a need for the highway patrol to improve procedures for maintaining the database and for helping local police enforce registration requirements. A highway patrol spokesman did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Galloway also encouraged the Legislature to strengthen the state law to require background checks for school volunteers, and to allow her office to access all court records.

A spokeswoman for Galloway said the audit was the first of the state's sex offender registry in a decade and Galloway felt it was time for another.

More News

Grid
List
ROCHEPORT – Severe flooding is happening across mid-Missouri and in Rocheport the flooding is leaving a finacial impact on businesses.... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 7:57:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
ELDON - Married couple and business partners Jennifer and Jeremy Hart are counting their blessings after the historic motel they... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 4:33:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting, many parents have only tepid confidence in school safety, according... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 3:16:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department released an official request for volunteers Saturday morning following Wednesday's EF-3 tornado.... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:56:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
ELDON - Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) spent his Saturday touring the path of destruction Wednesday's tornadoes left behind. Hawley... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:39:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is investigating two incidents of alleged looting involving three individuals Friday afternoon... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:18:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Neighbors in Jefferson City were already watching the Missouri River rise, but no one planned on an... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 11:42:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - According to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office, water was over the runways at Jefferson City Airport in Callaway... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 8:09:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Coverage From Callaway
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance companies will inspect and process claims for damaged homes over the weekend. Wednesday night's tornado badly... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:48:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A man involved in a car crash on I-70 May 16 has died from his injuries. William... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Missouri River has completely overflowed its banks near the end of South Route N. near Ashland.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:16:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City is offering instructions on how to get rid of the debris created by Wednesday's tornado.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 5:08:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance agents are warning people hit by Wednesday's tornado to be careful about signing repair contracts. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 3:26:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Volunteers from all over Jefferson City are working to help those affected by the tornado. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 2:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Members from House of Refuge are keeping their faith after Wednesday's tornado completely destroyed their church. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 1:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
ROCHEPORT - The 11th annual Pedaler's Jamboree bike ride got a good start Friday, and Missouri River levels are falling.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:32:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Task Force 1 has deactivated from Jefferson City after an EF-3 tornado swept through the area... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 9:11:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 70°
11am 75°
12pm 77°
1pm 78°
2pm 79°