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Sex offenders: Where are they?

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By Bryan Marshall

A northern Kentucky woman became alarmed and suspicious recently after a male employee made comments about her young children at a Taco Bell drive thru in Cold Springs.

When she arrived home, the woman checked the Kentucky State Police Sex Offender Registry Web Site and discovered that the man was a non-compliant sex offender.

Kentucky State Police subsequently arrested the man.

“It’s important for the public to be our eyes and ears and help us,” said Trooper Rick St.-Blancard, public information officer for Post 6 in Dry Ridge. “She was able to use the Sex Offender Registry as an ally and help us get an arrest.”

The registry provides up-to-date information regarding the release of registered sex offenders into local communities and is available through a program developed by the Kentucky State Police in cooperation with the Department of Corrections and the Division of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services.

The registry lists the offender’s age, height, hair color, eye color, weight, address, offense and age of victim and date of registration, along with a photograph.

Of the 67 offenders recently listed in Grant County, only five were females.

“It’s a snapshot in time,” St.-Blancard said. “At one time, you may have 85. At another time, you may have 65.”

A state law prohibits the use of information from the site to harass registered offenders.

An offender’s length of registration is based on several statutory requirements, including the type of offense they were convicted of, whether they have multiple convictions, a history of convictions for crimes that constitute sexual offenses or who have been convicted of specified crimes against victims who are minors.

Lifetime registration is mandatory for offenders convicted, released or registered after April 11, 2000, for the crimes of: first-degree rape; first-degree sodomy; kidnapping or unlawful confinement of a minor; those convicted of a sex crime who have prior convictions of specified offenses; those convicted of two or more felony criminal offenses against victims who are minors; all offenders moving into Kentucky and registering from another state or anyone designated as a sexually violent predator in another jurisdiction.

All other registrants must register for 20 years following discharge from confinement or for 20 years following the maximum discharge date on probation, shock probation, conditional discharge, parole or other form of early release, whichever is greater.

If offenders are re-incarcerated, their time on the registry is placed on “hold” while they are incarcerated and resumes again once they are released.

Registered sex offenders report their address to the Department of Corrections prior to their release from prison, or the Division of Probation and Parole upon being assigned probation or moving in from another state.

The information is collected on a standard offender registration form, which the offender must sign, and is then forwarded to the Kentucky State Police for inclusion in the database and placement on the Web site.

An address is verified by sending an address verification form to the offender’s registered address, which must be signed by the offender and returned within 10 days.

Lifetime registrants have their addresses verified every 90 days, while the addresses of 20-year registrants are verified annually.

If an offender fails to respond to the form, they are deemed non-compliant and local authorities are notified.

The offender is then subject to being charged with a Class D felony for the first offense and a Class C felony for each subsequent offense.

State law also prohibits registered sex offenders from living 1,000 feet from schools, daycare facilities and publicly owned playgrounds.

While residents can utilize the Sex Offender Web site, an alert line also is available by calling the toll-free number 1-866-564-5652 and providing a telephone number and up to three zip codes to monitor.

When state police receives notice that a registered sex offender is moving into one of the zip code areas entered, a notification call will be made directing the caller to the Kentucky State Police Sex Offender Registry Web site at http://kspsor.state.ky.us for more information.

The Alert Line system will attempt calls every two hours for a 24- hour period beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m.

Calls will not be made between the hours of 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to prevent children from receiving the call.

“The intent of this site is not to embarrass anybody,” St.-Blancard said. “It is for the protection of people.”