Tuesday, November 5, 2013

OH - Sex Offender Loophole

Morning coffee and newspaper
Original Article


MONTGOMERY - There may be sexual predators sleeping in the home next door to your children because of a loophole in the sex offender registration laws.

Blaine Hoffman and his family have been living in Kettering for more than a decade. Their neighborhood is quiet, family-friendly, and until spring of this year sex offender-free.

"That's how we found out. The sheriff's officer was parked outside of our house updating the registration address. Otherwise we wouldn't have known," Hoffman said.

A sex offender had moved in with his girlfriend, right across the street.

"For a father and a husband, it's very concerning," Hoffman added.

Records show the offender registered his girlfriend's address as his primary residence, but only at first. Following pressure from the neighborhood watch for him to move out, he did, sort of. He registered a different primary address with the sheriff's office. But Hoffman says the guy was still spending a whole lot of time at his girlfriend's house, which was then considered by authorities to be a secondary address, which means it's not searchable online.

"The detective said that as long as he notifies them that this is an address where he can be found, there's nothing we can do," Hoffman said.

"The secondary addresses are not published online. However, if a person has a concern, all they have to do is contact us at the sheriff's office," said Montgomery County Sheriff's Sgt. Julie Stephens.

The sheriff's office says offenders can have secondary addresses in any neighborhood. However, they aren't required to give deputies those secondary addresses. But it is highly encouraged.

"If they're there three or more nights a week, we're going to want that as a secondary address," Stephens said.

But in order for you to find out if a sex offender has a secondary address in your neighborhood you'll have to call the sheriff's office. A secondary address won't come up in the sex offender registry online search.

"If they have a concern about their safety they definitely need to call us and let us follow up on it and figure out if that's a place that the person hasn't told us about it or if it's a place where that person doesn't need to be," Stephens said.

"I get that they have cousins and friends that they could be hanging out with. But we're talking about people that are staying weeks on end and for all intents and purposes residing there. That's alarming," said Hoffman.

In an attempt to prevent offenders from skirting the law, sheriff's deputies periodically check up on them. They even inspect the offender's home to make sure they have clothes and toiletries inside, basically searching for evidence that the registered primary address is legitimate.

However, law enforcement officers admit, they need the public's help, and encourage you to give them a call if you suspect an offender is lying about where he lives.

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