06 November 2009

emailer: rapides sex offender registry needs updating

an emailer writes that they visited the louisiana state police sex offender registry for rapides parish this morning and was shocked by "the number of convicted sex offenders who are non-compliant, have active warrants outstanding and photo not available."

all we know about the sex offender laws is from what we've seen years ago on the old dateline nbc: to catch a predator specials. occasionally there will be some report in the media about a person who was arrested for using some mysterious; always unnamed, yet always full of police, chat room to lure teens.

we also know that sex offenders are routinely sexed-up and demonized by unscrupulous, fear-mongering politicians as the go-to excuse to pass a tax or some other suspicious law.

we didnt have a url to go by so the first thing we did was google LSP sex offender registry -- we chose the top google return LSP - SOCPR. it is the site terms and conditions of use page.

after you read all that you learn that the site is hosted by "the registry" as a public service and "relies on the department of corrections, the court, and/or other state and local law enforcement agencies to transmit the registration information on sex offenders to the registry"

at the top of the page there is a link that says "begin searching for offenders >>" when you click that you're taken to a "search for sex offenders: conditions of use" page. after you read the conditions, you have to click that you will abide by the conditions of use -- part of which states "any person who uses information contained in or accessed through this website to threaten, intimidate, or harass any individual, including registrants or family members, or who otherwise misuses this information, may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability."

after you click i agree and then submit you're taken to a page which has a map of louisiana and you click on the parish you wish to search. we noticed that this page is hosted on the icrimewatch.net domain.

so we clicked rapides and noticed that we were taken to a page on the sheriffalerts.com domain.

that page also contains a welcome and a presentation about the system that you can watch. there is also instructions on how to confidentially sign-up for free email alerts. you can also register addresses and areas to receive emails about, in case say a sex offender moves onto your street or into your neighborhood or by your kids school. but remember before you sign up that this portion of the website appears to to be run by a private company.

so after you read the welcome and view the presentation towards the top of the page beneath the picture of rapides parish sheriff chuck wagner, there is a button to click "search for offenders in your area." that goes back to the domain icrimewatch.net. both domains are registered to the same covington, louisiana limited liability company: watch systems, l.l.c. (jay dardenne has screwed up the sec'y of state website again. now you cant direct link to corporate reports from the corporations database).

so now you're on the offender search page. at first you might think that you have to search only by address but if you look over at the right-hand-side navigation column under "other search options" you can choose to view all the parish's registered offenders. (currently 462).

the bottom link "by name or other option" has a search by city function. the city we choose "found 15 offenders," of which five were photo not available. two were non-compliant one with a picture and one without.

at the bottom of that page is a link to the "un-mappable or incomplete addresses" listing and that "found 31 offenders." of those eleven were photo not available. seven were non-compliant.

because this seems like large numbers our emailer was concerned that the register isnt being updated. however, when we randomly clicked on the picture of one "offender" it showed that he had been convicted in late september 2009.

probably what happened as far as the incomplete and no photo available is that they're old and when the sheriff's department contracted for this service the clerk had a master list of sex offenders so they entered what information that they had.

many dont have a conviction date. one that did have a conviction date was from 1997. hardly anyone was online around here back then. who knows - some of them might not supposed to still be on there.

its probably a lot easier for the sheriff's department to make the initial entries into the register now that they have a system.