Are sex offenders complying with the law? By law, officers must do a full check of all the addresses on the website at least once a year, but is it enough and are sex offenders abiding by the rules? An investigation which started with letters led down an interesting path.
Do you really know who lives next door? A few houses down? What if the person on the other side of the door isn't who he says he is? The answers you're looking for could start with an address.
When Champaign County Sheriff's deputies walk into the office, there's a binder with names of convicted murderers and child sex offenders. But, there are concerns people move and they're not monitored with tracking devices, so the question remains: This investigation began with a letter.
Dear Registered Sex Offender. Then, we randomly selected ten offenders from four counties: Champaign, Douglas, Macon and Vermilion.
The letters were delivered by certified mail. While waiting, we meet with Adelaide Aimee who interviews children strong enough to discuss abuse in the county. In , centers like this statewide worked with a total of 10, kids; 8, were sexually abused.
We sent them a piece of mail to their addresses listed on the registry. Now, we'll find out how many were "Return to sender. We made the trip to Atwood to see if the offender moved from the address on the website. The trail took us to another address; this one an apartment building in Champaign. We kept knocking, but no on answered. We went to the Champaign Police Department for answers, only to find out from the time we sent the mail to the today we checked on the offender, he became homeless.
She says tracking a homeless person has its challenges. They might come in a day early or a day late. Very rarely do they miss. She uses that to narrow the search for her officers before they go knocking. The information which is provided on the state sex offender website changes and this investigation is just a sample.
Child advocates, like Adelaide Aimee says, for the most part, it works. It gives you more tools to help keep your child safe. If not, their status changes to either "non-compliant" or "location unknown. It's based on the details of each individual case.
Many departments do sweeps up to four times a year. Adjudicated juveniles were off-limits to the investigation.
The group of people committed sexual offense under the age of 18 meaning their names aren't on any registry and their files are sealed. They still report their addresses to the police department, but it's not public record. Bidwell says there are a few of them in Champaign. They aren't forbidden from going into schools, parks, daycares and since the public-at-large won't know about them as juvenile sex offenders, it can be anybody.
Juveniles register with the department for ten years or a lifetime as well. In some cases, they can file an appeal and have it wiped from their record altogether. Copyright Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.