It was just last year when we were hearing about the holes in the parole and probation system. Now it seems the state's sex offender registry may be dealing with a similar problem.
March 5, 2008 UNC's student body president was killed. Two men on probation are charged with killing her. The tragedy revealed problems in the parole and probation system. Namely, 580 offenders have killed people while on probation since 2000 and 14,000 criminals are unaccounted for. But they're not the only ones missing.
The state's sex offender registry is set up so you and law enforcement can track where sex offenders live. We discovered not all are complying with the law. In eastern Carolina right now there are 55 missing convicted sex offenders. There more across the state. That includes rapists and offenders convicted of sex crimes with children.
Of the 55 sex offenders who are missing in eastern Carolina 20 are in Wayne County. Wayne county Sheriff Carey Winders said keeping track of them is "A manpower issue, much like probation and parole."
Hearing those words from the sheriff may not sit to well given the problems we now know plague parole and probation. Some may wonder if it will take a tragedy with a missing sex offender before an effort is made to make sure rapists and those convicted of sex crimes with kids aren't allowed to simply disappear?
To be sure, the state and many sheriff's offices are very aggressive in tracking sex offenders. Many sheriff's offices check in with sex offenders several times a year, the state sends certified letters twice a year, you can even get phone alerts when a sex offender moves to your neighborhood.
The question is...does something else need to be done to ensure the most dangerous sexual offenders comply with the law, do some sheriff's offices need to make tracking these offenders a higher priority, or is letting them disappear a risk we're willing to take?
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.