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Whereabouts of almost 1,300 Missouri sex offenders unknown
News Local News. Actions Facebook Tweet Email. Missouri makes progress in finding unaccounted sex offenders, auditor says Jackson Co. Updated: By: 41 Action News Staff.
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, sex offenders are unaccounted for — about 8 percent of the nearly 16, registered sex offenders in Missouri — and it blames inadequate enforcement of the registration requirement at the local level.
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In 14 counties and the city of St. Louis, the whereabouts of more than 10 percent of sex offenders is unknown. 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, offenders. A audit in Massachusetts found no address on file for nearly 1, of the state's more than 13, 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 Missouri's registration requirement law took effect in 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.
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Galloway said the audit found that at least of the non-compliant offenders met the criteria for Tier III. She singled out St.
Louis, where of the 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, Butler County, also in southeast Missouri, was third-worst at 20 percent, followed by St.
Louis city at 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. 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.